Blue Jersey Band
Blue Jersey Band plays “Django, Jazz, and Bluegrazz” – swing, jazz, blues,
bluegrass, gypsy jazz – something for everyone – tunes from the 20s, 30s,
40s, 50s, 60s. Tight harmonies, masterful flatpicking by two-time NJ Guitar
Champion. The 3-member band includes: Frank Ruck- mandolin, guitar,
vocals; Ellen Ruck- guitar, vocals; and a bass player rounding out the trio.
We have played libraries: Princeton (NJ), Westfield (NJ), Randolph (NJ),
Middletown (NJ), New Canaan (CT); festivals: Musikfest (Bethlehem PA),
Communiversity (Princeton NJ), New England Folk Festival (Mansfield MA),
Bordentown Green Fair (NJ), New Hope Arts & Crafts (PA); and a host of
other venues: South Brunswick Jazz Café, Perkasie Patchwork
Coffeehouse, Salon 33, Café 420, Halo Pub Series, Rock n Joe’s, Albert
Music Hall, ArtsQuest, Perkins Cultural Arts Center (Moorestown),
Dragonfly Café (Somerset). We also do cocktails, contra dances, house
Frank Ruck, originally from the Jersey Shore area of NJ, started playing
guitar at a young age but then went to Rowan University as a piano major. In
the 1980's, he won the NJ Traditional Styles Guitar Championship two
times and then he traveled to Winfield, Kansas to compete in the National
Flatpicking Championship. He took up mandolin at age 40 and has not
stopped playing it since. He plays mandolin, guitar, and tenor banjo and
continues to study gypsy jazz online.
Ellen Ruck started playing guitar at age 10. She was a guitar teacher at age
16 for the Guitar Workshop in Roslyn, NY. She has continued studying jazz
styles at Ashokan Western & Swing Camp. Over the years, she has also
played classical recorder with several ensembles, taught guitar, and
collaborated with Frank in several bands. She is also the sound engineer
for the band, as well as, the band's agent/manager.
Ian Young, bassist, is from North Brunswick, NJ and attends the Mason
Gross School of the Arts with a concentration in Jazz Studies. He was
trained on trombone but self-taught on upright, his specialty. He plays
fluently in all musical genres and accompanies many types of bands in the
Kai Gibson is a bassist from Princeton, New Jersey. He attended the
Berklee College of Music jazz studies and performance program and
graduated in 2021. He has experience playing across the Tri-state area
and the Boston Bay area. He is fluent in many genres of music including:
jazz, blues, bluegrass, rock, latin, and many other styles of music.
Ed Jankiewicz, on bass, plays a wide range of music "from Hayden to
Hee-Haw" -including bluegrass, country, rock, classical and jazz. He has
been a church musician and singer since the age of 14 and has played
guitar and electric bass for about as long. Later, he took up string bass and
has been playing in the Hunterdon Symphony Orchestra and in several
John Burton, bass player, has a wide variety of musical experiences. He
originally played bass, guitar, and drums for bands in the San Francisco
Bay Area. A chance encounter with a singing teacher, turned into a 10-year
career as a professional singer. He left the opera world to start a family and
play bass for Blue Jersey Band.
Louise McClure, fiddle, is one of the original musicians with Princeton
Country Dancers starting in the 1970s. She is a full-time Suzuki and
traditional strings teacher in Princeton, having studied in Japan with Dr.
Suzuki. She runs a fiddle camp during the summer, organizes a mixed-age
dance band for young musicians, and performs on classical violin/viola with
area musicians. She joins Blue Jersey Band for contra dances in NJ, PA,
NY and surrounding areas.