RIVER EDGE, NJ -- When songstress Carolynn Monaco steps on stage with Jersey Jazz on Saturday night in Hackensack’s Picco Tavern, it will be the culmination of three years of rehab and work after a near-fatal car accident.
The River Edge resident and her husband were involved in a horrific car crash in March 2014 in Sparkill, N.Y., which left them trapped in the car for 45 minutes. She suffered a fractured chest, two broken vertebrae, a head injury and broken wrist. Her husband, Joe, suffered severe injuries to his spine, neck and both legs. She was taken to Nyack Hospital. Her husband was taken to Westchester Trauma Center and was hospitalized for eight months, where he endured many of the 16 surgeries.
Friends, family and the community rallied around the couple, providing emotional and financial support.
Still, the drive to return to singing was powerful. The Cliffside Park native started singing as a child and was under contract with a record label at age 13. She and her sister had a hit record in the 1960’s called “Lonely Summer” with the group The Kittens.
“I had to stop singing after the accident due to fractured chest and spine and head injury,” said Monaco. “The band I am currently with had faith in me and knew I would be back on stage.”
She and Jersey Jazz have had a few rehearsals leading up to the show.
“These are top of the line musicians,” she said of the band, whose members include Dave Sansone, keyboards and bass, Bill Moraites, guitar, and Scott Petry, drums, performing jazz standards.
Aside from Saturday’s show, Monaco and Jersey Jazz will be playing Picco Tavern on Saturday, Oct. 22, and Saturday, Nov. 19 with comedian Paul Venier.
“Many of my songs will be in the style of Diana Krall, a great jazz performer. I will be doing one special song for those in my audience who have come back from any hardship. The song is "Pick Yourself Up."”
Other classic tunes include “Peel Me A Grape,” “'Swonderful,” “Under My Skin,” among many others.
“I hope I can inspire anyone who has had an illness, injury or just been down and out to just pick themselves up and go forward and live a happy life.”