FLEMINGTON, NJ – The lineup of seasoned musicians is set for 14 hours of non-stop sophisticated jazz that will draw thousands to the three-day Central Jersey Jazz Festival starting tomorrow, Sept. 13 and continuing through Sunday, 15.
All performances are outdoors. The series kicks off in Flemington on Friday from 6 to 10 p.m.; New Brunswick follows on Saturday from 1 to 6 p.m.; and Somerville’s is held on Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m.
Concerts will be performed rain or shine. In the event of extreme weather conditions, notification of any changes will be made by 5 p.m. the day prior to each of the three dates on the website and Facebook.
All performances are free. Those attending must supply their own chairs. Food vendors will be at all three locales.
The Flemington stage will be on Stangl Road in the artisan’s district, with seating starting at 5 p.m.; in New Brunswick, the stage will be on George Street between Liberty Street and Bayard Street, with seating beginning at noon.
The Somerville stage will be on East Main Street, adjacent to the historic Somerville Courthouse green, with seating beginning at noon.
Artists will sell and autograph copies of their CDs after all performances.
The Flemington date is produced and hosted by the Flemington Community Partnership and Sheila E. Anderson, author and on-air personality of WBGO, Jazz 88.3; the New Brunswick date is produced and hosted by the New Brunswick Jazz Project; the Somerville date is produced and hosted by the Downtown Somerville Alliance and Arts on Division, along with Anderson.
The New Brunswick and Somerville locales are a short walk from each town’s NJ Transit station.
The producers of all three venues encourage those who will be visiting to enjoy the music to consider making dinner reservations at the many dining establishments in each of the three towns.
The schedule of performers follows, with profiles provided by the artists:
The NJ PAC Jazz for Teens ensemble will perform between sets in Flemington and Somerville; the New Brunswick Jazz Brass will perform between sets in New Brunswick.
Flemington, Sept. 13:
Willerm Delisfort (6-7 p.m.) was born in Little Haiti-Miami Florida. He is a pianist, organist, and composer, a versatile musician and a go-to bandmate across jazz, gospel, R&B, hip hop, soul, and all sorts of fusions.
In addition to leading the Willerm Delisfort Project, Delisfort’s stylistic breadth has led him to work with artists such as Fareed Haque, T-Pain, Lauryn Hill, Kirk Whalum, Louis Bellson, Lew Soloff, Calvin Newborne, Corey Wilkes, Curtis Fuller, Jimmy Heath, David Sanchez, Jennifer Holiday, George Freeman, Red Holloway, and many more.
Jeanne Gies (7:30-8:30 p.m.) is a NYC-based singer songwriter with an international presence, Gies has toured in Scotland, France, Germany, England, Austria, Italy, and Brazil.
Dubbed “a pro” by Newport Jazz Festival founder, George Wein, she is recognized for her full-bodied, emotionally expressive voice and distinctive phrasing.
Her newest duo recording features German 7-string guitar legend Helmut Nieberle. Tomorrow and Today will be released on Bobtale Records this fall.
Gies is currently working on a recording of original music in collaboration with producer and guitarist Sandro Albert. Live performances of her original music are recognized for Gies’ signature jazz-pop style and engaging lyricism.
Winard Harper (9-10 p.m.) hails from Baltimore, Md. and was considered to be a child prodigy. He studied at the Conservatory of the University of Cincinnati and at Howard University, before being awarded a scholarship to study jazz under the guidance of Jackie McLean at the University of Hartford.
His first gig was with Dexter Gordon, followed by engagements with Johnny Griffin and soon after, a permanent position in Betty Carter’s band. By the late 1980s he was part of the Young Lions, sharing the limelight with his brother Philip and the stellar band members of The Harper Brothers, having five much lauded albums and Billboard 100 positions to their name.
As a result of his passion for the cause of Jazz and his cultivation of mentoring young talents along the lines in which he himself had been privileged to receive mentorship from those who constituted the pillars of the Great American Art Form at that time, Harper developed the Jeli Posse, who’s most recent recordingCOEXIST is on the JLP label.
New Brunswick, Sept. 14
Jerome Jennings (1-2:15 p.m.) -Ask anyone who has ever experienced him play, he owns his music.
There are no wasted beats, or breaks. Every sound, every moment of silence, has a purpose. You cannot hear him and not feel the intensity behind his playing.
The rhythm talks to you and the conversation between sound and emotion has always been the best recipe for good music, with Jennings you get both.
Jerome has always valued education and the pursuit of excellence. In 2004 he graduated from Rutgers University Mason Gross School for the performing arts. Later, the summer of 2007 Jerome earned a Master’s Degree from the prestigious Juilliard School in Manhattan NY. Beginning fall 2017, Jerome has accepted the position as Resident Conductor of The Juilliard Jazz Orchestra.
Currently, Jerome is keeping busy teaching, conducting clinics, educational youth out reach in conjunction with Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Jazz for Young People (JFYP) program. As always, Jerome has remained a pertinent performer.
His debut recording The Beast was named one of the top 3 Jazz releases by NPR, received a 4-star rating in DownBeat Magazine, and nominated for the prestigious French “Grand Prix du disque” award for Album of The Year 2016.
To date Jerome has/is performing/recording/ touring with; Sonny Rollins, Hank Jones, The Count Basie Orchestra, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Wynton Marsalis (J@LC), Christian McBride, Paula West, Ernestine Anderson, The Mingus Big Band, Catherine Russell, Craig Handy, Davell Crawford, Henry Butler, Houston Person, Mike “Philly” Phillips, Slide Hampton, Benny Golson, Gerald Wilson, Tim Reis, Bernard Fowler, Benny Powell, Ronnie Mathews, Curtis Fuller, Valery Ponomarev, and many more.
The DIVA Jazz Quintet – Five Play (2:45-4 p.m.) – Five Play, the sister group of the world-renowned DIVA Jazz Orchestra, was formed in 1999. The quintet is comprised of DIVA's rhythm section and two of its foremost soloists.
FIVE PLAY is: Sherrie Maricle, music director/drums, Tomoko Ohno, piano, Noriko Ueda, bass, Jami Dauber, trumpet, and Janelle Reichman, tenor sax/clarinet.
FIVE PLAY is rooted in the jazz tradition and is fueled and inspired by the members’ collective, creative vision to swing through the twenty-first century.
The quintet’s repertoire is comprised of innovative arrangements of classic and contemporary standards, as well as original music composed and arranged by band members. The group’s library was conceived to highlight the distinctive styles of each individual and to create a unique, exciting and powerful ensemble sound.
Dizzy Gillespie Afro Latin Experience (4:30-6 p.m.) - The musicians are drawn from the high-caliber pool of New York-based talent that frequent the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band and All-Star groups, such as trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, saxophonist Sharel Cassity, Brazilian pianist / vocalist Abelita Mateus, drummer Tommy Campbell and percussionist Roger Squitero.
They perform with energy, verve, and style, putting their own fresh stamp on a well-known genre.
Somerville, Sept. 15
Javon Jackson (1:30-2:40 p.m.) - Tenor Saxophonist Javon Jackson is not one to be pigeonholed as he swings hard no matter it if funk, soul or hard bop. He came into international prominence touring and recording with the legendary drummer Art Blakey as a member of his band, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.
Symbolizing a new generation of musicians that blended tradition with neo-jazz, Jackson went on to release 14 recordings as a band leader and tour and record over 135 CDs with jazz greats including Elvin Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Haden, Betty Carter, Cedar Walton, Ron Carter, Donald Byrd, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Richard Davis, Bobby Hutcherson, Curtis Fuller, JoAnne Brackeen, Stanley Turrentine, and Ben E. King. His most recent, For You! (Solid Jackson Records), features Jeremy Minasia (piano), David Williams (bass) and McClenty Hunter (drums).
Brianna Thomas (3:05-4:15 p.m.) - Vocalist Brianna Thomas was born and raised in Peoria, IL where she first cut her teeth as a performer.
First taught and influenced by her father, a drummer and vocalist, Charlie Thomas, Brianna comes from a rich background of diverse musical influences.
Thomas moved to NYC in 2007 to attend college at The New School University and has since established herself as a talented vocalist on the scene today. Since graduating in 2011 She has performed with jazz greats Wycliffe Gordon, Wynton Marsalis, Russell Malone, The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra and longtime hero Dianne Reeves.
Thomas has also performed nationally and Internationally ranging from the "Women in Jazz Festival" at Jazz at Lincoln Center to the prestigious Montreux, Umbria, Bern and Sochi Jazz Festivals.
Thomas released her debut album You Must Believe in Love in 2014 on Sound on Purpose Records. The best illustration of Thomas is given by the words of legendary trombonist and Jazz Messengers Curtis Fuller: "a marvelous new artist who has all it takes to reach the top of the jazz profession and music in general."
Nat Adderley Jr. (4:45-6 p.m.) is best known for his work with Luther Vandross.
Adderley wrote (and arranged) Luther’s first top 20 pop hit, “Stop to Love”, and some other important Luther songs, including “Wait for Love” and the Grammy-nominated “Give me the Reason”. Adderley also arranged many of Luther’s most popular records, including “Superstar,” “Here and Now,” “If Only for One Night,” “Creepin’,” “If This World Were Mine”, “So Amazing,” “There’s Nothing Better Than Love,” “Never Too Much.” and “Love Won’t Let Me Wait.”
More recently, Adderley produced tracks on the last seven Vandross studio albums. These include “My Favorite Things,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Going Out of My Head,” “Knocks Me Off My Feet” and “The Closer I Get to You,” a duet with Beyoncé Knowles.
That track also appears on Beyoncé’s album Dangerously in Love, and it won the Grammy in 2004 for best R&B performance by a duo or group. In 2003, Adderley produced Luther’s Live 2003 at Radio City Music Hall. Adderley was Luther’s musical director from 1981 until his death.
Many other artists have had major successes with help from Nat Adderley Jr. Adderley wrote “The Wave” for Kirk Whalum, arranged Natalie Cole’s 1987 hit recording of “When I Fall In Love,” produced “Just Another Lonely Night” for Johnny Gill, arranged most of Aretha Franklin’s album Jump To It, produced Gloria Lynne’s album No Detour Ahead, and did the string arrangement for Doc Powell’s Grammy-nominated version of “What’s Going On.”