True Blue explores ‘House of Jazz’ at Schwartz Center

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Peggy Raley and Eddie Sherman, founders of True Blue Jazz in Lewes, bring The Eddie Sherman Show to the Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover Saturday night for a “A Walk Through the House of Jazz.” Five acts are on the bill, which will raise money for True Blue, a 501c3 organization that helps promote mainstream jazz and assists those studying the purely American art form. (Submitted photo)

Dover’s Schwartz Center for the Arts audience will get a musical workout Saturday night without leaving their seats.

The Lewes-based True Blue Jazz organization will sponsor “A Walk Through the House of Jazz” at 7:30 p.m. The evening features five acts exploring many styles of the purely American art form.

True Blue, a 501c3 organization formed in 2013, is focused on “straight ahead” or “mainstream” jazz, largely featuring songs from the Great American Songbook of standards from 1900 to the present day.

Best Bets logo CLEAR copyThe group also aims to provide music education and equipment to students looking to study that area of music.

True Blue co-founders Eddie Sherman and Peggy Raley think mainstream jazz is rapidly disappearing from view, especially in this area.

They have held a series of shows the past few years featuring such famed jazz artists as singers Diane Schuur and Freddy Cole, brother of Nat King Cole, in the Rehoboth Beach area the same week as the longtime Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival.

“The Rehoboth Jazz Festival is really no longer a jazz festival,” Ms. Raley said.

“It has stepped away from straight-ahead jazz and no longer features the type of music that we perform.”

Mr. Sherman and Ms. Raley are part of The Eddie Sherman Show, which will kick off Saturday night’s concert.

“The festival has become more smooth jazz and R&B-oriented. Our goal is to bring this type of music back since it is no longer available,” Ms. Raley said.

This year’s shows, which are still to be determined, will take place from Oct. 12 to Oct. 15 at Rehoboth Beach’s Clear Space Theatre and the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand while the larger festival, now in its 27th year, will run from Oct. 13 to Oct. 16.

“There is always an overflow of jazz fans in town that week and not everyone can get to those big ticket events that the festival holds,” Mr. Sherman said.

“We are working in a smaller theater setting and bringing in great headliner names and offering shows at a smaller ticket price being funded by great sponsors.”

The youth jazz initiative with True Blue is also an important component of the group’s mission.

“Just this year, we partnered with the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce to offer a scholarship to a Cape Henlopen High School jazz student,” Mr. Sherman said.

“At the chamber’s annual dinner on Feb. 11, we’ll be awarding a $500 scholarship. We were also fortunate to get a grant from Sussex County Council for another scholarship that we hope to award a student outside of our immediate school district who may be a rising young star nearing graduation.”

Mr. Sherman, familiar to many from his years with the local party band The Funsters, says he became interested in jazz after the music of what was the current day lost him.

“I’ve played rock ‘n’ roll for years but I got my head turned to jazz in the ’70s. Throughout the ’70s and the ’80s, disco and new wave sort of took hold. I certainly liked some of it but not much of the stuff really held up for me,” he said.

“I started gravitating toward the Big Band music of the 1930s — Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman. Once I started embracing that, it was a natural progression to listen to all of the vocalists and their interpretations of the music. It really got my juices flowing.”

Ms. Raley, who is married to Mr. Sherman and is a vocalist with The Eddie Sherman Show, says jazz has always been her bag.

“It’s always been the foundation of what music has been for me. I don’t know why I got bit by it but I certainly became entrenched in it. I took a brief foray into blues but my focus has always primarily been jazz,” she said.

Proceeds raised at Saturday night’s show will go toward the True Blue’s October jazz series and its youth jazz initiative.

With what Ms. Raley called the foundation of the jazz home, The Eddie Sherman Show starts the night with straight-ahead jazz leaning heavily on the standards of the 1930s and 1940s.

The band also includes pianist Joe Holt, bassist Bob Colligan, drummer Mike McShane and Paul Midiri on vibes.

The Wilmington Youth Jazz band will show off the skills its learned around the kitchen table of the jazz house.

Robert West then will bring a diversion into a different room when he presents a spoken word piece about jazz.

The Collective, led by Junior Lee and his wife Princess, is a group of musicians with divergent backgrounds including jazz, r&b, hip hop, blues, soul and pop. Joining them are musicians Troy McCrea and Jordan Stanley.

Closing the night will be a Delaware Jazz All-Star Revue with trumpeter Gerald Chavis, pianist Jeff Knoettner, drummer Webb Thomas and bassist Rob Swanson. The esteemed group will swing through some jazz improv.

“Those are really four powerhouse guys and just real giants of the Wilmington and Philly jazz scene,” said Ms. Raley.

Tickets for the 7:30 show are $24-$30 and can be purchased at, by calling the box office at 678-5152 or stopping by the theater at 226 S. State St.

“It’s really a lot of bang for your buck with as many great musicians as we have,” Ms. Raley said. “It’s going to be big fun. We’re really excited.”

Minty fresh

Just in time for Girl Scout cookie season, Dover’s Fordham and Dominion Brewing Co. is holding a beer release party today for its Not Your Daughter’s Thin Mint, which is a mint chocolate milk stout.

The party is to 5 to 8 p.m. at the brewery on McD Drive, off Horsepond Road.

Admission is $5 with music by Dover’s Emily Moses. The Wandering Chef from Newark will be selling food.

Musical comedy Saturday

As we told you last week, the Smyrna Opera House will host An Evening of Musical Comedy with Hot Breakfast!, Mean Wendy Band and Todd Chappelle Saturday night.

Tickets are $16 general admission, $14 members, senior citizens, and military. Content may not be appropriate for children.

A full bar will be available. The show starts at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6:15.

Now in their fifth year, Hot Breakfast! is an acoustic dork-rock power duo. Based in Wilmington, this duo features Matt Casarino’s songwriting and furious acoustic guitar work, Jill Knapp’s powerhouse vocals, and a rockin’ live show.

The duo recently released their latest album “The Big Reveal.”

The Mean Wendy Band is a Philadelphia-based comedy band with roots in both music performance and sketch comedy.

Mr. Chappelle is a local comedy songwriter who does a mix of funny original songs and parodies. His music is influenced by such artists as Weird Al Yankovic, Tom Lehrer and Mark Russell.

The Smyrna Opera House is at 7 W. South St.

‘Family’ alert

On Wednesday at 7 p.m., the PBS series “Our American Family” will share the story of the Clark family of Frankford. The episode will be broadcast on the PBS World Channel.

“Our American Family” focuses on the history of nuclear families during the time period from 1900 to the 1950s. The series highlights the need to document the history of one’s families before its elders have passed on. “The Clarks” is the fifth episode in the series.

The Clarks were the first African-American family featured and the journey to create the finished product was lengthy. In early January 2014, show writer and researcher Michael Nolan contacted family historian and genealogist Kimberly Chase-Longus after discovering her website.

She started it in 2006 to document the thousands of descendants of her third-great-grandparents Mary Gray and George Welburn of southeastern Sussex County.

Deciding which individual family to document was difficult, but they finally chose the children and grandchildren of the late Emma Andrews and Albert Clark Sr. Their great-granddaughter Cassandra Manuel-Taylor, the liaison between Mr. Nolan and the family, assisted with much of the filming preparations.

For more information on the show, visit or

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is the Coen Brothers’ comedy “Hail Caesar!,” the action-adventure “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and the Nicholas Sparks romance “The Choice.”

Coming to DVD and download starting Tuesday is the James Bond film “Spectre,” the family comedy “Love the Coopers” and the horror film “Crimson Peak.”

To share news of your entertainment group, venue or event, contact Craig Horleman at 741-8224 or

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