GROVER KEMBLE: Fine reviews among artists and audiences


Internet Reviews

John Pizzarelli and Grover Kemble ready to reprise jazz magic

(Kevin Coughlin: Better call some contractors quick: They need to enlarge the stage at Madison’s Shanghai Jazz in a hurry. Two jazz giants, John Pizzarelli and Grover Kemble, are joining forces there on Tuesday, Sept. 27, to reprise the magic of their early days together.


Grover Kemble and the Jerry Vezza Quartet at the Morristown Jazz Fest

(Kevin Coughlin: As we mentioned earlier, headliner Grover Kemble was not feeling well when he took the stage Saturday with the Jerry Vezza Quartet at the inaugural Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival on the historic Morristown Green. But his nylon-stringed guitar must have magical healing powers, because Grove sounded just fine from the opening number, Cool Cat Clawdy.


Kemble’s variety show at Shanghai Jazz offers swing, folk and bossa

(Zan Stewart: The Star-Ledger) Kemble drew on his years as an artist and entertainer when facing the boisterous crowd, many of whom seemed to be there simply to eat and gab. He gave lively, humorous introductions to each song, delivered his numbers with pizazz and occasionally shouted out brief bursts like “Here we go” as a number switched aspects. These amiable spoken passages and his vital interpretations gave those who listened a top-drawer showbiz evening.



Letters of Thanks

Thank you for creating a delightful afternoon for the children in our cultural arts workshops! Although we only scratched the surface of your musical talents, we certainly saw that you are a natural at sensing the rhythms and needs of little ones. Your ability to shift, at just the right moment, from music to instruction to action, was remarkable. It was a pleasure getting to know you. We look forward to your return to the Children’s Cultural Arts Center – Director of Children’s Cultural Arts Center, Morristown, NJ

On behalf of the residents and staff of the Daughters of Israel Geriatric center, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your wonderful performance this past Sunday afternoon. The residents enjoyed listening to your lovely voice and your excellent guitar playing. A marvelous time was had by all! Your interest and concern for the residents is greatly appreciated – Assistant Recreation Director, Daughters of Israel Geriatric Center, West Orange, New Jersey

Your recent concert here at the Englewood Public Library was a delight for all! The performance was very professional and the audience enjoyed your lively singing and repartee. You and John Pizarelli, Jr. are to be congratulated for presenting so appealing a program – Head, Programming Dept. Englewood Public Library, Englewood, NJ

Grover Kemble has performed at least six times at the Monmouth County Library in the last several years. He has worked in a variety of combinations from duo to quintent, and always presented a superb program. He is a crowd-pleasing personality as well as an excellent musician and a find vocalist. In the last eighteen years this library has consistently presented the finest jazz musicians in the country. Very few of our performers are more popular than Grover Kemble – Director, Monmouth County Library, Manalapan, NJ

The program you put on for us in October was far and away the best musical program we’ve ever had here at the Ramsey Library. Your rapport with the audience was excellent. Everyone had a wonderful time, and we would love to have you again next year – Asst. Library Director, Ramsey Free Public Library

Since we began working with you more than 8 years ago, we’ve found that your shows are entertaining and upbeat. You are unique among the performers we generally schedule. The audience always seems to appreciate the warm relationship you create – Director of Visitor Services, Morris County Park Commission

Thank you for the excellent performance by the Grover Kemble Trio at The Newark Museum on July 17. The audience delighted in your excellent muscianship and wonderful humor. Good luck in all you upcoming performances – Program Coordinator, The Newark Museum

Please accept our sincere thanks to you for your superb performance at our Family social gathering last Wednesday evening. Your preparation, choice and execution of material and motivating style displayed both professionalism in your art and sensitivity to your audience. The smiles on our residents’ faces will last a long long time. I would highly recommend your services to other geriatric facilities. Thank you again for an enjoyable evening of entertainment – Director of Social Services, Llanfiar House, Wayne NJ

Published Reviews

(Wayne Thorpe: Entertainment) At the apex of their career Grover and Margaret and Za Zu Zaz was opening for performers like Count Basie and appearing at the Newport Jazz Festival, which makes it curious, and satisfying, to now hear their first album ever, a mere twenty years after they broke up.


(Linda Lobdell: Jersey Jazz) In a room that’s not too big, not too small, every rare reunion of Za Zu Zaz, a group that existed for about six years starting in the late 1970s. In spite of that relatively brief existence, this band became legendary, playing in local nooks and crannies as well as opening for the likes of Count Basie.


(George Kanzler: The Star-Ledger) A luminary on the local New Jersey club scene since his Za Zu Zaz band of the 1970s, Kemble has developed a highly personal, idiomatic style mixing elements of jazz, rock, folk and blue-eyed soul. His singing combines the voice of the hipster hepcat with that of the sincere folk singer songwriter, while his guitar playing-at least here, confined to nylon string acoustic guitar-is that of a swinging cool cat.


(Jim Bohen: Daily Record) Live and spontaneous that’s how singer guitarist Grover Kemble wanted his new album to sound. And that’s how the music does sound on “Live at Shanghai Jazz,” which was recorded at the Chinese restaurant and jazz club in Madison.


(Zan Stewart: The Star-Ledger) Grover Kemble’s affection for the music of Ray Charles began at about age 11. He was driving with his mother in northern New Jersey when Charles’ first big record, “What’d I Say,” Came on the radio. “I was really digging it and my mom was turning it down,” says Lancaster, Pa., native Kemble, 59. “It was like a rite of passage; it grabbed me.”


(Jim Bohen: Daily Record) Duo is a Morris Original – Grover Kemble, Bob Marks offer musical talents for Parsippany benefit … The result is a refreshing take on the material. Kemble’s bluesy lead vocals and jazz-inflected playing on nylon-string guitar blend well with Mark’s Everly Brother-style harmonies and twangy Martin steel string guitar.


(Dave Dorn: New Jersey Jazz Society) “What is a Grover Kemble?” I asked hesitatingly. Betty proceeded to explain Grover’s merits, talents, a singer who plays guitar and quite a showman. “In fact”, she says, ”I’m going to send you a video tape and draw your own conclusions.”


(George Kanzler: The Star-Ledger) Grover Kemble has a winning formula for presenting jazz: Make it entertaining. It’s a formula that has fans enthusiastically following the singer-guitarist to his gigs throughout North Jersey.


(Jim Bohen: Daily Record) The trio’s nylon-string guitar, upright bass and drums form the barest possible accompaniment to the album’s 15 songs, The immaculate digital recording furthers the intimacy.