Monthly Archives: January 2014

TODAY! Album Launch Party & Family Festival!

Everyone's Invited Album CoverCome celebrate the release of our debut album “Everyone’s Invited!”


Special guest Marc “Baze” Bazerman, leader of Baze and His Silly Friends!

Guest performances by Meg Beattie and Dave Cushing, who also contributed to the album. Plus a performance by Ron Albanese “Polka Dot,” director of our “Jungle Gym Jamming” video.

Face Painting by Fancy Faces and Places.

Juggling and clown antics by The New Captain Kangaroo!

Advance prices:
Adults $7.00 (plus $1.35 fee)
Children (age 2 and up) $5.00 (plus $.125 fee)
Children (under 2) FREE


Buy Tickets at

Price at door:
Adults $10
Children (age 2 and up) $7
Children (under 2) FREE

Bring a nonperishable food item or cash donation for a raffle ticket. Donations benefit The Human Needs Pantry in Montclair, NJ.

Family Festival Spotlight – Ross Kantor on Drums!

Ross Kantor on DrumsMusicianship and friendship always seem to go together. Ross and I have shared both since we were 11 years old and getting turned on to classic rock by Ross’ big brother Scott. I was playing a little Casio keyboard from a discount store and Ross was getting to know his way around the drum kit.

Fast-forward 32 years and here we are, at it together again! Ross was absolutely my first choice to play drums in the Jungle Gym Jam because the music is so much about friendship and has such a strong rock-n-roll vibe that calls for a great musician on drums. Ross’ drumming is highly creative and isn’t just about keeping a beat. It’s about little subtleties and surprises, all in service of the song.

And you can’t miss Ross onstage, with his easygoing smile that reveals his total love of music making. This will be fully on display today at our Album Release Party!

Check out today’s event on Facebook!

Just Jake’s
30 Park St.
Montclair, NJ 07042
11:30 AM today January 26
Special Guest: Marc Bazerman
Face Painting by Fancy Faces & Places
Juggling and Antics by The New Captain Kangaroo

Family Festival Spotlight – Casey McCleary on Harmonies and Guitar!

Casey McCleary on harmonies and guitarWhen inspiration suddenly struck our family in the form of “Stay in the Pool” early in the summer, we knew we had to arrange, record and release that song quickly to get it out to radio while it could still be enjoyed in summer. A few nights after the first draft of the lyrics and tune were written, I asked the band to drop our agenda of rehearsing existing songs to concentrate on this new number. Casey came up with a classic doo-wop-soul harmony that really gives the song a special summertime feel. She put her stamp on the song, just like that!

Casey was brought into the band with a difficult task, to carry out the parts that were arranged with a previous harmony vocalist and be able to own those harmony parts, and she proved in the audition process she could do it. She battled through the nerves anyone would have in their first gig with a new, original band. But now, “Stay in the Pool” was a turning point because her creative abilities were on full display, to imagine harmonies that hadn’t occurred to me. Casey continues to thrive in the band as she comes up with new harmonies to our new songs and truly owns the parts that were created before her. Watching her stage presence develop along with her familiarity with our music has been a pleasure.

We gave “Cross-country Casey” her nickname because of the extraordinary amount of travel she does for her job. It’s pretty typical that she’ll make a day trip to Michigan or Ohio for work and then come to rehearsal. I’m just glad her busy schedule includes time to make music with the Jungle Gym Jam. She is also actively involved with the Verona Drum Circle and occasionally performs solo acoustic at the Children’s Institute in Verona.

Casey will take the stage with me at the release celebration of our album “Everyone’s Invited!” this Sunday, Jan. 26 at Just Jake’s at 11:30 AM.

Family Festival Spotlight – Judy Helbig on Bass Guitar!

Shredding back-to-back with Jammin' JudyWhen I stop and think for a moment about what the Internet makes possible, I’m astounded. Last spring I was looking for a bass player to complete the band’s lineup. I signed up for and searched on local bassists. Judy’s profile included a demo recording of her playing bass and singing “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane. The bassline was lively and flowing and the rock-n-roll attitude in Judy’s voice cut right through. I knew we had someone who we really needed to hear in-person!

Rehearsing and performing with “Jammin’ Judy” has brought the rock-n-roll vibe front-and-center in our band’s sound and presentation. Our first-ever gig was an all-acoustic affair, as agreed with the Essex County Presby Memorial Iris Gardens; the show put the songs front and center and hinted at our potential to rock out. It was the prep for our electric gig that really brought out Judy’s rock-n-roll powers. This is where her “born to be on stage” presence really showed up. Judy’s vocal harmonies blend nicely with Casey’s parts and her basslines add interesting counterpoints to the melody, sometimes even inspiring new ideas for my guitar leads.

Check out Judy’s great musicianship and rock-n-roll vibe at our Family Fun Festival and Album Release Party at Just Jake’s in Montclair, NJ this Sunday,

Family Festival Spotlight – Bitty Box Marketing with Jeanette Lauture

Former Owner of Aunt Jean’s Toys and Treats has New Goodies!

Jeanette Lauture of Bitty Box MarketingOne of our favorite  destinations with our daughter in our hometown of Montclair is Church Street with its boutiques and cafes, which always gives us this feeling like we’re away on vacation in our own town.

One of our favorite stops on our stroll was Aunt Jean’s Toys and Treats, a colorful and inviting place for our little girl to stretch out her imagination and explore in a world of pretend play. Last summer I brought in some download cards of “Five Sea Lions” for Jeanette to consider selling in the store. What I didn’t know then was that Jeanette was planning to close the store and follow a related passion to take on a larger role in the creation, marketing and distribution of great products for kids.

So when I learned in the local papers and blogs that Aunt Jean’s was closing and what Jeanette wanted to do next, I felt how I was going to miss that happy little store, but I soon felt also that if she could do for our wares what she did to make her store so delightful, that we could team up and create a truly awesome family experience together. We’ve had great fun so far putting together a wonderful collection of kid-friendly products to offer, and we’re just getting warmed up! You’ll have a chance to meet Jeanette  at our merchandise table at the Album Launch and Family Festival on Sunday at Just Jake’s.

We’ll be offering the items from our online store that bear the Jungle Gym Jam brand, including our new CD (autographed), youth sized tie-dye T-shirts, maracas, tambourines, and beach balls. We also have LED foam color light wands which are sure to be a hit with the kids!

Jeanette also placed our new CD “Everyone’s Invited!” at Montclair’s Watchung Booksellers where it can be  purchased starting Tuesday, January 28.

You can follow Jeanette on Twitter to keep up with her latest projects.