Gabrielle Stravelli Performs Tonight at New Jersey's Watchung Arts Center

Gabrielle Stravelli Performs Tonight at New Jersey's Watchung Arts Center

GABRIELLE STRAVELLI - the acclaimed pop/jazz vocalist called "ingenious" by The Wall Street Journal and known from her tours with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, appearances at the 92nd Street Y and her long-running Soho jazz brunch - will join tenor saxophonist Ed Finkel as he brings a group of well-known New York jazz artists to the Heinz W. Otto Gallery at the Watchung Arts Center in Watchung, NJ tonight, March 28 at 8 PM. A dessert reception will follow the performance.

In addition to Mr. Finkel, the band will consist of Glenn Mills on trombone, pianist Tardo Hammer, bassist Patrick O'Leary and Tom Melito on drums. Watchung resident Ed Finkel played in big bands as a young man, touring throughout the eastern US and on an ocean voyage aboard the Queen Elizabeth II, with Helen O'Connell and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, as well as performing with the Vaughn Monroe and Sammy Kaye orchestras and others, before embarking on a career as a structural engineer.

For more than 25 years, Ed was a member of The Jazz @Noon Band, the longest running jazz institution in New York City, launched by Les Lieber, circa 1965, for businessmen-musicians. Gathering every Friday this event featured weekly visits by renowned Jazz artists from all musical eras, including: Benny Goodman, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Dick Hyman, Joe Wilder, Doc Cheatham, Harry Allen, Wycliffe Gordon, Anat Cohen, Ken Peplowski, Claudio Roditi, and Paquito D'Rivera. Ed has also performed with pianists Dave McKenna at the Copley Plaza in Boston and in Hyannis, and Dorothy Donegan at Fat Tuesday's and the Fortune Garden Pavilion in New York City.

Gabrielle Stravelli began singing as a soloist with orchestras at the age of 15 and has since performed on stages from Amsterdam to New York including Lincoln Center's Rose Hall, the 92Y's Lyrics and Lyricists Series, Birdland Jazz Club, the Carmoor Festival, 54 Below, Maree Sonore Festival in Venice, Italy and NJPAC among others. She has appeared as a soloist with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops and the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra. In the summer of 2014, Gabrielle performed a sold-out, critically acclaimed run of solo shows at New York's Metropolitan Room in which she "...unfurled new layers of her remarkable voice. As she dipped and swooped, twirling notes and phrases with a confidence and playfulness that recalled Ella Fitzgerald in her prime, Ms. Stravelli began interpreting lyrics with a ferocity that her vocal pyrotechnics accentuated" according to Stephen Holden of The New York Times.

Trombonist Glenn Mills, a recipient of 3 National Endowment Grants, has played with a wide variety of bands and performers including the Widespread Jazz Orchestra, Larry Elgart Orchestra, Jacj McDuff, Gloria Gaynor, the Supremes, Larry Harlow and Johnny Colon salsa bands and the Big Apple Circus.

Tardo Hammer, pianist, has been playing professionally since the late 1970s. He has performed in groups led by Johnny Griffin, Bill Hardman, Lionel Hampton, Lou Donaldson, Art Farmer, Abbey Lincoln and many others. He's been musical director and accompanist for vocalist Annie Ross since 1992. He appears on a number of CDs; including five with his own trio, most recently "Simple Pleasures".

Bassist Patrick O'Leary studied piano and bass at The Crane School of Music, where he received a bachelor's degree. He has toured the world with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, the Illinois Jacquet Orchestra and Bob Dorough. Other leading artists with whom O'Leary has played include saxophonists Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano, and James Moody, pianist Marian McPartland, vocalists Joe Williams and Marlena Shaw, and vocalist/pianist Diana Krall. As a Kennedy Center/Department of State Jazz Ambassador, O'Leary toured several African countries, Southeast Asia and Central and South America with Scott Robinson, Larry Ham, Bill Heid and Bob Dorough. Pat arranged and composed "The Montenegro Jazz Suite" and "The Balkan Jazz Suite" for Choir, Orchestra and Jazz Quartet.

Tom Melito has been a mainstay on the New York City jazz scene for many years. His drumming has been heard behind such varied artists as John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Warren Vache, Frank Wess, Harry Allen, "Sweets" Edison, Gene Bertoncini, and Stacy Kent. Tom's talents have been in demand internationally, including numerous tours of Japan, China, Europe, and South America. His various television appearances include the CBS Early Show, Entertainment Tonight, and CNN World Beat. Currently Tom is playing with pianists Pete Malinverni, and Larry Ham while doing Jazz clinics at various schools in the area. Active in jazz education, he is an adjunct professor at Central Connecticut University where he teaches drums and jazz ensemble playing.

Tickets are $16 in advance, $20 (18 for WAC members, $10 for students) at the door. Tickets may be purchased online at To obtain more information about upcoming performances, classes and workshops, and monthly art exhibitions, please visit or call 908-753-0190. The Watchung Arts Center, located at 18 Stirling Road in Watchung on the Watchung Circle, is a multi-disciplinary performing arts facility serving Watchung, the surrounding communities and the Tri-State Area.