Joel Zelnik Trio pays tribute to two jazz legends

The Joel Zelnik Trio with Grammy Award-nominee Annette Sanders will perform classic American songs recorded by Tony Bennett and Bill Evans on Monday, March 27, at the Bickford Theatre. Photo by Bill Moraites.

The legendary recordings of Tony Bennett and Bill Evans will be performed by the Joel Zelnik Trio with singer Annette Sanders at the Bickford Theatre on Monday, March 27, at 8:00 p.m.

Joining pianist Joel Zelnik will be Brian Glassman on bass and David Cox on drums. With 31 Grammy nominations and seven awards, Bill Evans is regarded as one of the most important and influential jazz pianists of all time.

His work with Miles Davis in the late 1950s won him the Downbeat International Critics Poll and led the group to record Kind of Blue in 1959, the best-selling jazz album of all time.

Evans rarely accompanied singers so when he and Tony Bennett teamed up to record The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album in 1975, it received a lot of attention and has been hailed as one of the greatest jazz duets of all time.

By the time Bennett stepped into the studio with Evans, his career was struggling. In the fifties and sixties, he was on top of the jazz world, winning scores of Grammy nominations and awards, and some of his pop records attained gold record status.

The highlight back then was his partnership with Bill Evans, but these critically acclaimed recordings were released by his own record label, Improv, which lacked a major distribution contract and finally went out of business in 1977.

In recent years, however, the Concord Music Group has repackaged and rereleased the two recordings much to the delight of jazz fans and music critics.

Zelnik met Bill Evans in the mid-sixties when the two pianists alternated sets at the landmark Top of the Gate in Greenwich Village. The greatness of Bill Evans was apparent to the young musician and has influenced his work to this day. Now, the Joel Zelnik Trio with Grammy-nominated jazz singer Annette Sanders reprise this remarkable collection of American Art Songs with a performance that captures the vitality, expressiveness and beauty of the legendary duet.

The program includes many familiar songs such as Jimmy Van Heusen’s But Beautiful, Henry Mancini’s Days of Wine and Roses, Julie Stein’s Make Someone Happy, and the Bill Evans’ classic Waltz for Debbie.

“I’ve never forgotten sharing the stage a half century ago with the great Bill Evans,” said Joel Zelnik. “He had such an impact on me as a young man, and his approach to jazz was so influential. I’m looking forward to sharing the music from this remarkable collaboration with the Bickford Theatre audience, which is extremely knowledgeable.”

Tickets for Tony Bennett & Bill Evans: The Legendary Recordings are $17 in advance and $20 at the door and may be purchased online at, by phone at (973) 971-3706, or in person at the Bickford Theatre Box Office. The Morris Museum’s Bickford Theatre is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, NJ, and offers free parking and full accessibility. Box office hours for phone sales are Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Walk-up hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Bickford Theatre is a professional theater that produces and presents year-round entertainment, including a Main Stage Series, two Children’s Theatre series, a Jazz Showcase Series, and other concerts.

The theatre is an Equity Producing Theatre member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization of 30 professional theaters throughout the state and works in conjunction with Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).

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