Fairy Tales Can Come True…

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Joel Zalenik

STATE — Fairy tales can come true? Sometimes, as Elizabeth native Joel Zelnik can attest.

Zelnik is best known for his musical partnering with wife, Francine Evans, New Jersey’s popular performing duo. They perform the hits of Garland, Sinatra, plus Broadway, the 50s and much more. But this story began long before Zelnik even met Evans.

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As a young man, Zelnik was riding high with the ‘J.ZELNIK TRIO” and a newly minted jazz recording called “MOVE”. The album garnered the support of jazz great Billy Taylor who played cuts frequently on his jazz radio program. However, life would take many unforeseen roads and the group eventually disbanded.

Years passed. Zelnik possessed what he felt was the one, remaining frayed copy of “MOVE” on his living room shelf, its ambitions and friendships long forgotten. On a tragic note, some years later and much too soon, the bands’ drummer David Rosenberg, passed away at age 39. The loss forever dashed any hope of the future of “MOVE” and the J ZELNIK TRIO. However, here is where the fairy tale began to happen…

Zelnik was contacted by a young man who had found his name on a internet blog. Rosenberg’s son Jay was searching for any shreds of his father’s long gone, legendary playing style. This search was motivated by the juvenile ‘drummings’ of his own son (David Rosenberg’s grandson). Jay knew about MOVE, although he had no copy.

Through the internet, they met again and Zelnik made a copy for him. Little did he know that Jay was out there, promoting MOVE on the internet, which garnered the attention of a music lover and businessman from Japan, Keisuke Taniguchi.

To his astonishment, Zelnik was contacted by Taniguchi, who was interested in promoting this long forgotten recording. He said that he loved it and believed that there would be marketing interest in Japan. Zelnik was given a contract and the recording he made when he was only 23 was once again given new life.

Not only was “THE J.ZELNIK TRIO’s “MOVE” released in Japan, but it became a major jazz hit and a new cd was commissioned (JOEL ZELNIK TRIO LIVE AT STEINWAY PIANO GALLERY). Zelnik has become a jazz star, his life’s ambition at age 65.


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