Photo Caption: George Wirt’s colorful murals feature portraits of many jazz greats including Wynton Marsalis, Chick Corea and Stanley Jordan.

An exhibit celebrating Asbury Park’s Jazz and Blues
heritage closes this weekend at the “Where Music Lives” Gallery

The Asbury Musical Heritage Foundation is presenting the colorful metal murals, and large-scale prints by music photographers George Wirt and Tony Graves.

The show, “Asbury Park: Jazz And Blues Mecca,” runs through this weekend Saturday, June 29, and Sunday, June 30. It features Jazz and Blues artists in performance in venues and festivals of Asbury Park and includes Dave Valentine, Tony Bennett, Stanley Jordan, B.B. King, Mindi Abair, Lonnie Liston Smith, the Dirty Dozen Jazz Band, Jimmy Health, Nelson Rangel and many others.

“Asbury Park: Jazz and Blues Mecca” can be viewed Saturdays, from noon to 7 p.m. and Sundays noon to 6 p.m. For more information, visit

Photographers George Wirt and Tony Graves have captured images at local landmark venues such as the Paramount Theater, Convention Hall and the Stone Pony, as well as newer clubs like McLoone’s and the Urban Nest and at past Asbury Park Jazz Festivals throughout the years.

“We’re constantly looking for that gesture or expression that will make for unique images of the performances we’re covering,” said Wirt, whose music, news and event photos appear in print and online for major media outlets.

The exhibit includes three colorful metal murals as well as more than two dozen large format prints.

“We’ve been fortunate to be present at some memorable Jazz and Blues performances,” said Graves, who is an artist in residence at Essex County Community College, and who shoots for a variety of music publications.

When describing Asbury Park and the jazz and blues connection, Grammy Award-winning Jazz bassist and music historian Christian McBride calls it the “Jazz pipeline.”

McBride says, “The corridor between Philadelphia and New York City is home to some of the best Jazz and Blues musicians in the world, and Asbury Park is right at the center of it all.”

The Grammy Award-wining big band leader and artistic advisor  for the James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center says Asbury Park has been a Mecca for touring Jazz and Blues players for years.

“They would play gigs or jam at some of the historic clubs of the past,” said McBride who grew up in Philadelphia and has made his home in Montclair for more than a decade. “Today there is resurgence with many homegrown players and new venues in the mix.”

That rich musical heritage is a continued celebration by The Asbury Park Musical Heritage Foundation, which is hosting the event at its “Where Music Lives” exhibition and performance space at 708 Cookman Avenue in the heart of Asbury Park’s burgeoning arts district.