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. Instrumental and vocal programs. 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 (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, Halo Pub Series, Rock n
Joe’s, Albert Music Hall, ArtsQuest, Perkins Cultural Arts Center
(Moorestown). We also do cocktails, dinner parties, 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 banjo and
continues to study gypsy jazz. He has a large repertoire of hot club gypsy
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 graduated from the
Mason Gross School of the Arts with a concentration in Jazz Studies. He
was trained on trombone and upright bass, his specialty. He plays fluently in
all musical genres on both bass and trombone. and accompanies many
types of bands in the Tri-State area. He also travels around the country and
internationally with several bands.
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.
Ed Jankiewicz, on bass, plays a wide range of music 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 acoustic bands.
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.
Allan Rubin, on fiddle, started playing violin at age 8 and contra dancing at
age 20. He has found a way to merge the two - he plays fiddle with Blue
Jersey Contra Band. He also contra dances with his wife. Trained in
classical violin, he grew up in the D.C. Youth Orchestra Program. He has
played in various community and semi-professional orchestras in Vermont,
New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and California. Since moving to Princeton,
he has been playing in string quartets and Blue Jersey Contra Band.