The Crooner Meets The Piano Man: Online concert to benefit the nonprofit Basie Center


Crooner Meets The Piano Man(RED BANK MAY 29, 2020) – “The Crooner Meets The Piano Man,”  an online concert to take place Tuesday, June 2nd at 8pm on and, will benefit the nonprofit Count Basie Center for the Arts.

Starring Michael Martocci, whose Memories Of Frank Sinatra birthday performances have dazzled Basie Center audiences, the broadcast also features longtime Billy Joel band saxophonist, Mark Rivera. The performance, filmed “backwards” last week on the historic Basie stage, features the empty Basie in the background — punctuating the fact that the organization has been shuttered and without revenue since mid-March.

“The Basie organization gave me my first break with my ‘Memories of FRANK’ concerts, so it’s become home to me,” said Martocci, who reached out to the Basie in March, willing to do anything to help. “This performance also gave me an opportunity to come together with my guys for a great cause, and to make some music — which we haven’t done in three months.”

In addition to Martocci and Rivera, the performance includes Dean Schneider (pianist and conductor), Mike Nigro (drums), Andy Lalasis (bass) and Skip Spratt (saxophone and flute.) The program features Sinatra and Joel standards – everything from ‘The Chairman’’s “All The Way” to ‘The Piano Man’’s “Just The Way You Are.”

The performance also includes guest appearances from Broadway legend Brian Stokes Mitchell, comedian Mike Marino and others. Fans will be invited to visit throughout the broadcast, with all proceeds benefiting the not-for-profit Count Basie Center for the Arts.

“We’re grateful to Michael Martocci, Mark Rivera and the band for all the time and energy they put into this benefit performance,” said Izzy Sackowitz, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Count Basie Center for the Arts. “When one of our area artists can make time to give back – especially now, when we’ve been closed for nearly three months and have concerns for the arts moving forward – it’s very meaningful and appreciated.”

“The Basie is like home to me,” Martocci concluded, “and we have to keep it going and fund the great musical education programs that it provides, as well as the finest and live entertainment. We’re looking forward to doing our part to make a difference June 2nd.”