Banjo artist headlines St. Andrews Village concert

Sat, 10/25/2014 - 8:45am

Banjo and accordion artist Jeff Grosser will bring a band of some of the state’s best jazz musicians to St. Andrews Village on Nov. 2 for a concert featuring Dixieland, swing and popular musical standards from the 1970s and 1980s.

Grosser, whose musical career started in his native New York City and includes three appearances at Carnegie Hall, promises an enjoyable experience featuring lively music played by talented musicians who are also great entertainers.

“It is going to be an afternoon that people are going to remember because the musicians who are coming are fun and the music will be fun,” said Dr. Grosser, whose other career is dentistry.

The music will begin at 2 p.m. and last until 4 p.m. Light refreshments will be served and tours of apartments will also be available.

The concert is the third at St. Andrews Village in about eight months. Many Village residents enjoy jazz and the intimate setting at the Village allows people to listen to great music and interact with wonderful local musicians like Barney Balch, leader of Novel Jazz, and Jeff Grosser.

Born and raised in New York City, Grosser’s first instrument was the accordion, at least partly because a piano wouldn’t fit in his parents’ apartment.

After beginning his musical career as an accordionist — he played that instrument during his first appearance at Carnegie Hall — Grosser switched to the plectrum (four string) banjo in 1968. At the time, banjo music was popular but there weren’t a lot of good banjo players around, so the switch offered the prospect of steady work.

For the next 13 years, he was the leader of the Rush Street band, a regular banjoist at the famed Red Onion and also played at the Banjo Inn, Chester’s, the Golden Banjo, The Bourbon Barrel and Calamity Jane’s. In the ’70s, he worked with notables Ed Sullivan, Jerry Lewis and Sammy Davis Jr.

A busy dental career pulled him away from the music scene for about 15 years, but his love of music brought him back and he has been playing with New England groups ever since. Most recently, Grosser has enjoyed playing the violin as part of the Augusta Symphony Orchestra.

Grosser said that the music Nov. 2 will cover a span of almost a century, going as far back as the 1890s and featuring tunes made popular by greats such as Count Basie, Louie Armstrong, Scott Joplin, Fats Waller and Big Crosby.

All are welcome to this musical event, but because space is limited please RSVP by calling Kelsey Prior at 207-633-0920.