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New Brunswick Jazz Project garners award from City Market

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The New Brunswick Jazz Project has been up and running for a little more than a year and the effort to make New Brunswick a jazz music destination is already receiving recognition.

The New Brunswick City Market, a nonprofit group that promotes the city's businesses and the revitalization of its downtown area, gave the jazz project an award at its annual board of directors meeting in April.

The award, for outstanding music program contribution, is a sign to the founders of the Jazz Project that their group is being received by more than just jazz fans and musicians.

“We started out in part for selfish reasons because we love the music," said Virginia DeBerry, one of the three founders of the Jazz Project. “But we've been able to give back to a town that makes us happy."

The jazz scene in New Brunswick has experienced an ebb and flow over the years. When DeBerry, a novelist, moved to New Brunswick in 1992 from New York City, the scene had waned from what it had been in the 1970s.

Restaurants like the Raritan River Club would host jazz bands, but by 2004, the jazz had all but stopped, she said.

“It was something people seemed to enjoy, but nobody could figure out how to bring it back," DeBerry said.

DeBerry and her longtime friends, Mike Tublin and James Lenihar, somehow did.

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