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 rivertown vintage jazz bandBy Jim McGann

Hot Marmalade
Sunday, February 5, 2023 at 2pm

Haddonfield United Methodist Church
29 Warwick Road
Haddonfield, NJ 08033

Bob Rawlins has assembled a sextet, Hot Marmalade, for the February concert in Haddonfield.  It’s a great line-up, with Bob Rawlins, Danny Tobias, Pat Mercuri, Nancy Rawlins, Bruce Campbell, andJim Lawlor. This lineup is a first for Tri-State and the members are all known for terrific talent – playing together in other bands like the Midiri Sextet and the annual Tri-State All-Stars concert.  (The photo, with half the marmalade jar, is from an All-Stars Jam in 2019.)  With the skill and musical knowledge on stage, we can expect an outstanding afternoon; the repertoire could span from earliest jazz, through the pop tunes of the era (Gershwin, Berlin, Arlen) right up to Swing!

And a special treat is in store.  Thanks to Haddonfield United Methodist Church (and particularly Matt Smith, Organist and Choirmaster) we may have the unique opportunity to hear a couple Thomas 'Fats' Waller songs, performed as pipe-organ soloes, played by band-member Nancy Rawlins (Rowan University music faculty)!  This has a huge local historical connection - it echoes, in part, Waller's 1927 recording sessions for Victor Talking Machine, at the Espey pipe organ in the Trinity Church studio.  Trinity Church was in downtown Camden not far from the company's main offices.  Headquarters (of what became RCA - known even today as the 'Nipper' building) still stands, though Trinity Church is no more.


camden logoMade possible by funds from the Camden County Cultural & Heritage Commission at Camden County College, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts


Bob Rawlins – clarinet and saxophone, leader
Danny Tobias – trumpet
Pat Mercuri – guitar 
Nancy Rawlins – piano
Bruce Campbell – bass
Jim Lawlor – drums


Bob Rawlins has frequently played for Tri-State Jazz Society as a member of the Atlantic City Jazz Band and led our Annual Jam Sessions in the past. He is a professor of music theory at Rowan University and is the author of several books on jazz including the theory textbook Jazzology; The Real Dixieland Book (a collection of 250 classics he compiled and edited while living in New Orleans); and Tunes of the Twenties.

An organist, pianist, choral director and arranger, Nancy Rawlins teaches music theory and choral arranging at Rowan University. She is the Music Director of St. Peter’s Church in Merchantville NJ.  Her performance credits include solo recitals and ensemble performances at over 150 churches and concert halls throughout the region, including the Kimmel Center, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.  

Banjoist/guitarist Pat Mercuri is one of the area's most active freelance jazz musicians. As a member of Jerry Rife’s Rhythm Kings, the Midiri Brothers’ and Ed Wise’s bands, he plays for TSJS frequently. Pat has also performed with local big bands, including the ensemble of reed man/composer/arranger Andrew Neu.

Jim Lawlor began playing drums after moving from Philadelphia to Atlantic City in 1979, just as the town was beginning its rise as the East Coast gambling mecca. His primary teacher was Chris Columbo, former drummer with Louis Jordan's Tympani Five and father of Count Basie drumming legend Sonny Payne. Jim spent eight years in the Chris Sooy Swing Band, a very popular group that pre-dated the Neo-Swing movement by a decade. He was then hired by Joe and Paul Midiri to play and sing in their small groups and big band. In 2000, the Midiri ensemble landed on the festival circuit and gave Jim a chance to travel and perform around the USA. 

A 1985 graduate of Trenton State College (now College of New Jersey), Danny Tobias has worked with such jazz luminaries as Kenny Davern, Warren and Allan Vache, Harry Allen, Howard Alden, John Bunch, Marty Napoleon, Greg Cohen, Derek Smith and many other jazz legends.  Danny leads his own bands, and performs in ensembles, for Tri-State audiences, and has released recordings, such as the Ride Symbol record label, Silver Linings, featuring multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson, pianist Rossano Sportiello, bassist Joe Plowman and drummer Kevin Dorn (all of whom are TSJS alumni).

Bruce Campbell has been a favored sideman in south central Pennsylvania for dozens of bands and musicians over the last 40 years. He found his calling with the string bass, specializing in all varieties of jazz, as well as numerous singer/songwriter acts. He can be heard on a score of recordings both as a regular band member and as a studio sideman.  He also maintains an active performance schedule, playing concerts for jazz societies, community concerts and arts festivals



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