Basie Summer Jazz Fest

Michael Franks • Lee Ritenour & Dave Grusin • Bob James Trio • Lizz Wright

SAT • JUNE 2 • 4PM

Buy Tickets

Tickets: $129, $99, $89, $79, $45 | Limit 8 tickets per billing address

The historic Count Basie Center for the Arts, the state’s top-selling performing arts theater and the namesake of jazz great William J. “Count” Basie, is back with its second-ever Basie Summer Jazz Fest!

The Lineup:

  • Lizz Wright 4:00 – 5:00pm
  • Bob James Trio 5:30 – 6:30pm
  • Lee Ritenour + Dave Grusin  8:00 – 9:15pm
  • Michael Franks 9:45 – 11:00pm

** Tickets for the Basie Summer Jazz fest are sold by the day and not the festival as a whole.

Presented by Citi, the Monmouth County Freeholders and The Asbury Park Press


About The Artists

Michael Franks

Over the languorous course of 33 years and 16 albums, Michael Franks has mesmerized an international legion of fans with his one-of-a-kind artistry. Seamlessly weaving lyrics of stunning sensuality, wit, reflection and literary eloquence over music that tastefully utilizes top shelf shadings of jazz, soul, pop, chamber and music from around the globe, Michael Franks the songwriter has set a bar in the music world that places him as nothing less than a statesman of song craft. His best known works include “Popsicle Toes,” “Monkey See-Monkey Do,” “The Lady Wants To Know,” “When the Cookie Jar is Empty,” “Tiger in the Rain,” “Rainy Night in Tokyo” and “Tell Me All About It” — covered by artists ranging from Diana Krall and Natalie Cole to Manhattan Transfer and the Carpenters. As if that weren’t enough, Michael Franks the singer is gifted with a gentle, deliciously expressive voice – identifiable from note one.



Lee Ritenour & Dave Grusin

Lee Ritenour has maintained a delicate balance between the individual creative vision and the group dynamic since the beginning of his career. He did his first session work in the late ’60s with the Mamas and the Papas, who dubbed him “Captain Fingers” for demonstrating incredible dexterity while still in his teens.

Since his early recordings in the 1970s, he has earned a Grammy® Award and 19 Grammy® nominations, numerous #1 spots on guitar polls, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian SJ Awards, and a prestigious “Alumnus of the Year” Award from the University of Southern California. He has recorded more than 40 albums that have yielded 35 chart songs. As a young guitarist, he put his combination of diverse musical styles and brilliant technical chops to work on more than 3,000 sessions with a broad spectrum of artists, and was a founding member of Fourplay, which is considered the most successful group in contemporary jazz.

Dave Grusin has been a highly successful performer, producer, composer, record label executive, arranger and bandleader. His piano playing ranges from mildly challenging to competent to routine, but he’s an accomplished film and television soundtrack composer. Grusin recorded with Benny Goodman in 1960, later playing electric keyboards with Gerry Mulligan and Lee Ritenour in the mid-70s. In 1978, Grusin and producer Larry Rosen established GRP Records, which developed into one of the top contemporary jazz and fusion companies. GRP was later taken over by Arista, then by MCA. Grusin continued recording through the ’80s and ’90s, doing numerous projects from fusion and pop to working with symphony orchestras. He’s also conducted the GRP big band, continued scoring such films as The Fabulous Baker Boys, and doing duet sessions with his brother Don, and Ritenour. Besides his numerous GRP releases, Grusin’s also recorded for Columbia, Sheffield Lab and Polygram.



Bob James Trio

The career of Bob James is long, varied and continues to evolve at every turn. From his first days in Marshall, Missouri, the music of Bob James has captivated audiences throughout the world.

Discovered by Quincy Jones at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival in 1963, James recorded his first solo album, Bold Conceptions, that year for Mercury Records. 58 albums and innumerable awards would follow through five decades. He honed his skills working with Creed Taylor, working on albums for artists like Hank Crawford, Grover Washington, Jr, among others.  While with CTI, James found great popular success overseeing significant hits for Paul Simon, Neil Diamond, Maynard Ferguson, and Kenny Loggins.

While recording his album Grand Piano Canyon in 1990, James reunited with longtime friend, drummer Harvey Mason, Jr.  It would also be the first time James would work with guitarist Lee Ritenour and bassist Nathan East.  This would be

the start of something beautiful, as these early sessions ignited a spark which would engulf the Jazz world as Fourplay.

The Bob James Trio is James, Michael Palazzolo on bass & Billy Kilson on drums.



Lizz Wright

Acclaimed vocalist Lizz Wright is a steward of American music, bringing brilliant color and vibrancy to singular original works and compositions by some of the greatest songwriters of our time. Wright has garnered widespread attention as one of the most venerable popular singers of her generation through the release of five critically acclaimed albums. From her breakout Verve debut album Salt to her latest album Grace on ConcordRecords, Wright lives life filled with beautiful possibilities centered on the power of song.

Through an inimitable voice that The New York Times touts as, “a smooth, dark alto possessed of qualities you might associate with barrel-aged bourbon or butter-soft leather,” Wright sings with a soaring reflection of the cultural fabric of America. She lies beneath the script of human history transcending social divides with an offer of love and deep sense of humanity. Her music accepts the beauty of reality and a collective experience of belonging. For the listener, Wright’s songs embody a tradition that allows us to always feel at home, wherever we might be physically or emotionally.