The Boardwalk Jazz Band, led by PJ Rasmussen, is NYC’s only 21-piece band that features four vocalists and almost entirely original music. They have been the subject of two national television specials, an hour long Christmas spectacular and the half hour Sounds of Summer, appearing on WCBS and WABC in NYC as well as hundreds of other stations across the country.
Rather than seeing jazz as a dying art form that needs to be preserved, the Boardwalk Jazz Band shows every time they take the stage that their music can get feet tapping, hearts racing, and audiences cheering. PJ Rasmussen started Boardwalk Jazz in 2014 to build a new generation of Jazz fans and to challenge the idea that jazz is “high art,” not for the common listener. Initially based on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, New Jersey, the inaugural 17 week run featured a variety of guests: legends like Bucky Pizzarelli, modern titans like Scott Robinson and Rich Perry, and a host of young talent designed to show that the music was still alive and kicking in the present day. That series closed with big band bonanza, and the current Boardwalk Jazz Band was born.
Rather than focus on the jazz standards of a bygone era, the band’s music spans a wide range of modern sounds and styles while remaining true to PJ Rasmussen’s jazz roots. There is new music at every show. Also sprinkled in are a few carefully selected covers, providing fresh takes on everything from gospel music to Led Zeppelin, Elvis, and more. Boardwalk Jazz is a modern embodiment of Duke Ellington’s famous statement: “There are two kinds of music— good…and the other kind.”
Following the success of 2016’s national Christmas special, the band was again featured in a new national television broadcast,“Sounds of Summer,” which aired on WABC ch. 7 in NYC as well as about 100 other stations across the country between July and mid August. This half hour special featured all original music. Both shows now air annually.
This year, “An American Christmas: with PJ Rasmussen and the Boardwalk Jazz Band” will appear on approximately 150 stations nationwide, anchored WCBS ch. 2 in NYC. An American Christmas features fresh arrangements and transforms old holiday favorites into new treasures.