One of the real legends of Cape May County was the brilliant jazz pianist George Mesterhazy, who presided for years at the piano in the Merion Inn in Cape May. George and his romantic partner, Vicky Watson, owned and ran the Merion Inn.
George was a fixture at his piano bench when he wasn't traveling the world with such legends as Shirley Horne. Anyway, George died suddenly last April at the tragically young age of 59. More than 3,000 people attended his memorial service. I was looking at some old hard drives and started watching clips I had shot of George over the years and thought it would be a good idea to make a film to remind people of what a rare treasure we had living in our midst.
His musical talent seemed boundless as was his love of jazz and his fellow musicians. Everybody loved George. I don't usually cry when editing my films, but it was impossible not to, as I watched these old clips I took of George Mesterhazy — in his room.
Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny Lyon and two prominent
West Side Asbury Park musicians will discuss the city’s unique vocal harmony
music scene during a special, never-before-seen video presentation being given
by the Asbury Park Historical Society on Saturday at .
Bobby Thomas, of the famous Orioles singing group, and
well-known West Side vocalist Nicky Addeo joined
Springsteen and Lyon on April 2, 2011 in a panel discussion on Asbury
Park’s vibrant West Side music
scene and how it affected their lives and their own music. The Historical
Society will show the video to the public for the first time ever in
association with the Light of Day events also planned in Asbury
Park that week.
“When we speak of Asbury Park’s
West Side, we’re referring to the once thriving black
business and entertainment thoroughfare of Springwood
Avenue. Located just a short walk from the
boardwalk and beach, the West Side was a world away
culturally,” said Charlie Horner. Horner and his wife, Pam, are recognized by
the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum as premier experts on vocal
harmony, or doo wop, music and both the Horners will attend the showing of the
historically segregated, pre-civil rights-era society gave rise to an area
across the tracks that produced unique and noteworthy music. Long before Bruce
Springsteen, Southside Johnny and Bon Jovi, the West Side
had a jumping musical scene, with nightclubs like Leo Karp’s Turf Club, Cuba’s
the Madonna Club, the Orchid Club, and Big Bills, forming the foundation for Asbury
Park’s later musical glory. As we honor Asbury
Park’s musical legacy, we must remember its socially
diverse roots,” Charlie Horner said.
In the video, both Springsteen and Lyon discuss the
influence the West Side musical scene had on their own
careers. Author Daniel Wolff moderated the panel discussion.
The video will be presented at the AtonementLutheranChurch,
where it was originally taped, at
on Saturday. Admission is free. The church is located at 308
First Avenue and is within easy walking distance
from the downtown or boardwalk. www.aphistoricalsociety.org