Jazz Insights: R.J. Von See

accordionR.J.Von See, (Robert John Von See) has played a major role in musical efforts in Rhode Island.

He grew up in New Jersey, and began his jazz infusion quite early in life. The accordion and the trombone were his first instruments, and he joined a group called the Rhythnaires that performed on the “Jimmy Dean Television Show” back in 1954. Soon after, he picked up the guitar and bass and began performing in Pennsylvania and other places.
R.J. moved to Newport some 35 years ago, where he played with the late(s) Matthew Quinn and Connie Williams. He also worked with Newport’s premier reed player Art Manchester.
In later years, R.J. promoted and hosted the “Music in the Mansion” series at the famous Elks Club in Newport. He became vice president of the Newport Jazz Association (non-profit) and was the co-producer and founder of “Newport Jazz Week,” which today is called BridgeFest and is held the week before the Annual Newport Jazz Festival each August.
Today R.J. is a supporter of music and jazz and connects to the annual jazz and folk festivals. He leads a growing group of individuals who want to find a permanent home for jazz in Newport, which is long overdue.

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