By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor
SALEM COUNTY, N.J. — On January 23, Music Around Salem County will host its first virtual concert of the winter season featuring a pair of Rowan University professors: guitarist and composer Brian Betz and saxophonist Denis DiBlasio. The concert will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 23.
Betz and DiBlasio’s show was initially slated to take place as an in-person event, but it was moved to a virtual setting due to COVID-19. Their concert is free to attend, and you’ll be able to find it on Music Around Salem County’s Facebook page and website.
The duo has been performing together for more than 20 years after DiBlasio taught Betz at Rowan University. Both musicians have a vast amount of experience that continued to grow after their paths crossed at Rowan.
Betz earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rowan, and he has a number of jazz-related awards to his name — including two Betty Carter International Jazz Competition victories in 2004 and 2007. He was also a runner-up at the 2006 Henry Mancini Jazz Competition, and he is part of the Dreambox Media label with six CDs released on it. When he isn’t performing, Betz teaches jazz guitar and improvisation at Rowan.
Meanwhile, DiBlasio is the executive director of Rowan’s Maynard Ferguson Institute of Jazz. That isn’t the only role he serves for the institute, as he also acts as a saxophonist, composer, arranger, and musical director. DiBlasio, who has a master’s degree from the University of Miami, toured with Maynard Ferguson’s band before becoming a professor at Rowan. He’s released nine CDs on the Encounter Records label as part of his music career.
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