RED BANK, NJ – The New York Times branded her “the most accomplished interpreter of popular material performing today.” Her career has taken her everywhere from big-band bandstands to Carnegie Hall — and her vocal skills have graced recordings by legends ranging from Mel Torme to KISS! Even with credentials like those, Marlene Verplanck is quick to point out that one of her greatest claims to fame is the world-renowned commercial jingle for Campbell’s soup.

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Acclaimed vocal jazz virtuoso Marlene VerPlanck comes to Red Bank on July 23 and 24, as the Summer Jazz Café series continues at Red Bank’s Two River Theater.

The Songbook specialist and her combo bring their “Mmm-mmm Good” stuff to Red Bank this weekend, as the next featured performer in the 2010 Summer Jazz Café series, presented by New Jersey’s own Jazz Arts Project within the spacious yet cozy “black box” room of the Two River Theater.

Inside the modern performing arts facility — located just steps from NJ Transit’s public transportation station and an array of popular restaurants, with plenty of free off-street parking — Jazz Café patrons can enjoy coffee, tea and delectable treats at candlelit cocktail tables, while enjoying sounds from some of the most sought-after players on the regional scene.

While in town, VerPlanck will conduct a free workshop for aspiring jazz vocalists at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 24 — and Jazz Café continues on the weekend of July 30 and 31, with a swinging saxman who’s been a vital part of legacy tribute projects dedicated to such innovators as Mingus, Monk and Miles — Wayne Escoffery.

All performances in the Jazz Cafe series are at 8:00 p.m. Reserve by calling the Two River box office at (732)345-1400, or via the venue’s website at tickets.trtc.org.

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In between shows at Two River Theater, Russian-born trumpeter Valery Ponomarev of Jazz Messengers fame (fifth from left in front row) joined Jazz Arts Project artistic director Joe Muccioli and a roomful of aspiring jazz masters for a special workshop at the Salvation Army building in Asbury Park. Two River’s Jazz Café series continues on July 23 and 24, when vocalist Marlene VerPlanck arrives at station stop Red Bank. (photo credit: Roberto Muolo)