MONTCLAIR, NJ – Montclair Jazz Festival is back, with a new two-week footprint of concerts and
special events leading up to the single biggest one-day happening for New Jersey’s rich cultural arts
town of Montclair.
Produced by the acclaimed music education organization
JAZZ HOUSE KiDS, which celebrates its 15 th anniversary
in 2017, the “No Tickets Required” 8 th Annual Montclair
Jazz Fest kicks off nine hours of world-class jazz for
thousands of elated music fans on Saturday, August 12 th
in Nishuane Park. The Bravitas Group and Silver
Family Foundation returns as Presenting Sponsor. The
event will also once again be livestreamed in its entirety
so that music lovers around the globe don’t miss out on
this grand event!
Right after directing the Newport Jazz Festival in early
August, Montclair Jazz Festival Artistic Director, bassist
Christian McBride, leads the stage action for the Montclair Jazz Festival with Mistress
of Ceremonies, actor S. Epatha Merkerson; and WBGO’s Gary Walker. This year’s
all-star headliners on the Bravitas Main Stage include the NEW Dee Dee Bridgewater
& Memphis Soulphony; A Christian McBride Situation; and the Cyrus Chestnut
Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses will perform two rousing sets on the Family Jazz
Discovery Zone Stage. The world-renowned jazz superstars share the spotlight with
festival favorites the Ted Chubb Band, the Jazz House Collective, The Centennial
Project and more than 200 multi-generational performers ranging in age from 12 to 70
in 10 award-winning JAZZ HOUSE KiDS student ensembles and vocal groups. The
unique array of musicians and exceptional festival experience all come together under
Jazz House Kids’ far-reaching mission to bring America’s original musical art form to the
community and use jazz as an exciting teaching tool to mentor and apprentice young,
THE FUN STARTS NOW! TWO-WEEK FESTIVAL FOOTPRINT
Leading up to Montclair Jazz Festival, special activities are planned throughout the
summer that encompass all business centers of town.
Thursday, July 27
The Gallery at Hillside Square, in partnership with JAZZ HOUSE KiDS and the
Montclair Jazz Festival, presents Jazz in Focus, an exhibit of three noted jazz
photographers: Richard Conde, Patrick Hilaire and the late Ed Berger. The
exhibit runs through October 27.
Friday, July 28
Christian McBride spins Old School Funk + Soul at the hippest dance party of
the summer. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Friends of the
Festival get in free: www.montclairjazzfestival.org.@18 Label (8:00PM–12AM)
Saturday, August 5
Jazz Across Montclair – select town merchants will donate a portion of their
day’s proceeds to the Montclair Jazz Festival in recognition of JAZZ HOUSE
KiDS’ contributions to the town. Jazz House student ensembles perform in
seven locations (2:00 pm-10 pm) across town including Montclair’s Center Stage
on Church Street. For more information and times, visit
July 31 – August 10
Mid-Day Summer Concert + Symposium Series curated by festival artistic
director Christian McBride and featuring special jazz guests alongside JAZZ
HOUSE KiDS’ acclaimed faculty.
2:30-3:30 PM @Cali School of Music’s Leshowitz Hall at Montclair State U.
7/31 Jazz House Teaching Artists sponsored by Ronald McDonald House
Charities New York Tri-State Area
8/1 Jazz House Teaching Artists sponsored by City National Bank
8/2 Rachel Z + Christian McBride sponsored by Gia Maione Prima
8/3 Kenny Rampton sponsored by The Bravitas Group/The Silver Family
8/4 Jazz House Collective sponsored by the Wellmont Theater and MC Hotel
8/7 Jazz House Alumni sponsored by Arctic Glacier
8/8 Christian McBride Symposium sponsored by Montclair Fund for Women
8/9 Charles Tolliver + Billy Hart sponsored by North Coast Brewing Co.
8/10 Dee Dee Bridgewater + Christian McBride sponsored by Clara Maass
The guest artists will also conduct master classes for more than 160 students at
the Jazz House Summer Workshop, Jazz House Kids’ nationally recognized
These events, as well as a post-Festival jam session party (LEAD) at Egan & Sons
(9:30 pm to close) in West Orange, continue to lay the groundwork for JAZZ HOUSE
KiDS and its community partners to establish an annual destination festival in Northern
DAY OF FESTIVITIES:
The Montclair Jazz Festival is a fun-filled day with entertainment for the entire family.
The Family Jazz Discovery Zone Stage features performances by Louis Prima Jr.
and the Witnesses, the Jazz House Adult Ensemble and Jazz House Alumni
Ensemble. “Zone” activities, a collaboration among Jazz House Kids and partners
Montclair Public Library and Montclair Art Museum, will feature a host of kid-friendly
art activities for the younger set and their parents, including WEBOP®, a Jazz at Lincoln
Center program; kid-friendly food vendors; and music-related story books read by
festival headliners. www.montclairjazzfestival.org/#!family-jazz/cq53
Also returning to the festival is the popular Beer Garden, sponsored by North Coast
Brewing Co., which donates 100% of the proceeds to support the JAZZ HOUSE KiDS
Music + Education Fund. Donations to this fund help close the gap in access to music
education in schools and communities across New Jersey.
MONTCLAIR JAZZ FESTIVAL & JAZZ HOUSE KiDS
The Montclair Jazz Festival is the brainchild of jazz vocalist and recording artist Melissa
Walker, with creative direction from her husband, Christian McBride. Walker is the
president and founder of JAZZ HOUSE KiDS, a Montclair-based arts education and
performance nonprofit that has gained a national reputation. Every year, JAZZ HOUSE
KiDS performances reach 25,000 people through 80 community concerts and the
Montclair Jazz Festival, the organization’s flagship musical and community engagement program held each August.
JAZZ HOUSE KiDS works with closely with 1,500 students each year at its Jazz House
facility in Montclair, in underserved schools, and
at its Jazz House Summer Workshop. According
to Walker, the organization is committed to
providing access, inclusion and innovative
programming for young people from all walks of
life. In fact, Jazz House Kids provides nearly
40% of its student body with tuition assistance to see its mission flourish.
"We are proud that the Montclair Jazz Fest has metamorphosed into one of the largest
and greatest free summer events in New Jersey,” said Walker. “Along with the Montclair
Film Festival in the spring, the Montclair Jazz Fest has become part of the fabric of our
community and a world-class event, solidifying this town’s standing as a thriving arts
and cultural destination all year round. An ambitious undertaking, the ‘no tickets
required’ Montclair Jazz Festival, which attracts thousands of music lovers and families
from across the region, would not be possible without the tremendous support of our
sponsors, community and government partners, and generous individuals who believe
in Jazz House Kids’ mission.”
MEET THE TALENT:
This year, the Montclair Jazz Festival welcomes back
NEA Jazz Master and internationally renowned vocalist
Dee Dee Bridgewater. Few entertainers have ever
commanded the depth of artistry that Bridgewater has
shown in multiple mediums. Over the course of her stellar
career, Bridgewater has won a Tony Award for Best
Featured Actress in a Musical for “The Wiz”; received three GRAMMY Awards; and
earned France’s top honor Victoire de la Musique for Best Jazz Vocal Album. The
artist’s latest release, Dee Dee’s Feathers (OKeh/Sony Masterworks, 2015), is a
collaboration with Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra that combines fresh
interpretations of Crescent City classics like “Big Chief” and “St. James Infirmary” with
new, original compositions (“Congo Square,” “C'est Ici Que Je T'aime”).
Bridgewater returns to her Memphis soul roots and brings her brand new 10-piece
band, Dee Dee Bridgewater and & Memphis Soulphony to the Montclair Jazz
Festival stage, including Barry Campbell on bass, Curtis Pulliam on trumpet, Bryant
Lockhart on saxophone, Charlton Johnson on guitar, Sharisse Norman and
Shontelle Norman-Beatty on background vocals, Carlos Sargent on drums and
Farindell "Dell" Smith on piano/organ.
Jazz House Kids’ Artistic Chair and Montclair Jazz Festival Artistic Director Christian
McBride is a five-time GRAMMY Award-winning
bassist, composer and arranger. He has been one of
the most important and omnipresent figures in the jazz
world for more than 25 years. McBride is the new
Artistic Director of the Newport Jazz Festival, and he
hosts and produces “The Lowdown: Conversations
With Christian” on SiriusXM satellite radio. McBride also hosts
National Public Radio’s “Jazz Night in America,” a weekly radio show and multimedia
collaboration between WBGO, NPR and Jazz at Lincoln Center that showcases
outstanding live jazz from across the country.
Tapping into the discovery and spirit of jazz improvisation, A Christian McBride
Situation is McBride’s ongoing electro-funk project with a potpourri of talented
musicians including DJ Logic on turntables, Rachel Z on keyboards, Antoinette Henry
on vocals, Adam Rogers on guitar and Bernard Purdie on drums. McBride plays both
acoustic and electric bass. The Situation was born 12 years ago at the Monterey Jazz
Festival, when a couple of McBride’s band members couldn’t make the gig. His
manager quipped, "It looks like we have a Christian McBride situation." McBride
thought that sounded cool, so he began using the name for any eclectic group of
musicians he brings together, and it always results in a wildly avant-garde sound of
street beats and improv.
Keyboardist Cyrus Chestnut has earned a
reputation for his skillful versatility, his ability for
blending sounds, and for unabashedly bringing
gospel into the club performances he gives. And
despite his sense of playful showmanship, he takes
jazz very seriously and believes that jazz has great
staying power. First call pianist for the Dizzy
Gillespie Big Band and both The Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestras,
Cyrus Chestnut absorbed years of experience as a sideman with Betty Carter, Wynton
Marsalis, and scores of other great players before stepping into the spotlight as a
charismatic and thought-provoking composer/bandleader. Blending contemporary and
traditional jazz with gospel and hints of Latin and samba, Time Magazine raves that,
“what makes Chestnut the best jazz pianist of his generation is a willingness to abandon
notes and play space.” The Montclair Jazz Festival will be bringing the virtuoso pianist together with his swinging, soulful trio featuring Michael Hawkins on bass and Neal
Smith on drums.
Trumpeter Ted Chubb delivers a fresh approach to
modern jazz, drawing the listener in with an individual
voice, striking originals, and reimagined classics.
“Gratified Never Satisfied,” Chubb’s new release,
establishes him as a singular creative force in
contemporary jazz, an artist steeped in the music’s legacy who is pointing squarely
toward its future. Chubb’s diverse career has brought him to clubs and jazz festivals
around the globe. Splitting time between NYC and Lucerne, Switzerland, Chubb
continues to serve as Director of the Jazz House Summer Workshop and Special
Projects. Joining him on the Montclair Jazz Festival stage will be Bruce Williams on
alto, Seth Johnson on guitar and Tom DiCarlo on bass.
The Jazz House Collective, directed by Nathan Eklund, includes nationally and
internationally recognized jazz artists who serve as
faculty members for the JAZZ HOUSE KiDS Summer
Workshop. One hundred years ago this year, many
iconic jazz artists were born, influencing the musical
landscape forever. The Collective presents the
Centennial Project, celebrating the music of jazz luminaries including Ella Fitzgerald,
Thelonious Monk, Buddy Rich and Lena Horne.
Louis Prima, Jr. takes a page from his father’s playbook,
bringing new energy and a 21 th century attitude to the famed
Prima Swing! His father, Louis Prima, was born in 1910, and
became a legendary songwriter, bandleader and musician
known as one of the greatest contributors toward modern music
of all time. His son, the iconic singer, songwriter and entertainer, will be featured in the Family Jazz Discovery Zone with the Witnesses. For
the second year, the Gia Maione Prima Foundation has generously awarded the
Louis Prima Jazz Scholars Fund for Jazz House Kids to help students and families
in need at the Jazz House and in struggling schools.
The future of jazz will be showcased as more than
160 students from the JAZZ HOUSE KiDS Summer
Workshop perform throughout the day. Tomorrow’s
rising stars come from all across New Jersey and seven other states, and internationally
from London and the Dominican Republic.
Celebrated actor S. Epatha Merkerson returns as festival
Mistress of Ceremonies. She has won a Golden Globe,
Emmy, SAG Award, an Obie, Gracie Allen Award, and four
NAACP Image Awards. She has also received two Tony
Award nominations and an IFP Spirit Award nomination.
Currently starring as Sharon Goodwin, Hospital Chief of
Services, on NBC’s “Chicago Med,” she is best known for her
17-season run as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on NBC's “Law & Order.”
WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM’s on-air host Gary Walker will serve as the
stage host, providing an “inside scoop” on the many talented
MEET THE SPONSORS
The Montclair Jazz Festival is presented by The Bravitas Group/Silver Family
Foundation, with lead support from the National Endowment for the Arts, The MC
Hotel, Wellmont Theater, New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel &
Tourism and Clara Maass Medical Center/RWJBarnabas Health. The festival is also
supported by North Coast Brewing Co., Arctic Glacier, Schumacher Chevrolet, Van
Dyk Family Wines, Van Dyk Health Care at Montclair, and Stone Center of
Bridgewater. Festival partners include the County of Essex, New Jersey; Montclair
Township and Montclair Community Services; Montclair Public Library; Montclair
Art Museum; and media sponsors WBGO 88.3 FM, Jazz Times, The Montclair
Times, Montclair Local, Baristanet and TapIntoMontclair.
MEET THE MUSIC FANS
Friends of the Festival
The Montclair Jazz Festival attracts more than
6,000 people from across the Tri-State area. As
a Friend of the Festival, music lovers can help
the Montclair Jazz Fest remain a no-tickets-
required day of world-class music and summer
fun and get some great perks. For more
information, visit www.montclairjazzfestival.org.
Getting to the Montclair Jazz Festival has never been easier. The FREE Montclair Jazz
Festival Shuttle will stop at several key parking points throughout Montclair and West
Orange. An expanded bike valet sponsored by Diamond Cycle will offer free,
convenient parking for those traveling by two wheels.
At the Park: Eats, Shopping and Activities
Jazz fans are invited to bring friends and family, lawn chairs, blankets, and picnic
baskets. In addition to the North Coast Beer Garden and Family Jazz Discovery Zone,
food and artisan craft vendors are part of the offerings in the historic, 17-acre park.
This year, festival attendees will be encouraged to visit the Front Line for the Arts tent
(near the Jazz Discovery Zone) to pick up some information about the National
Endowment for the Arts and the great works it helps fund. A collaborative effort of area
artists, arts organizations, and arts supporters, including Jazz House Kids, the Montclair
Art Museum, and Studio Montclair, its purpose is to show wide-spread support to
Washington for keeping NEA funding at its current levels. NEA funding comprises a
mere .012% of the overall budget and costs every American 46 cents per year. The
NEA is a major sponsor of the Montclair Jazz Festival.
To volunteer, or for more information, visit www.montclairjazzfestival.org and the
Montclair Jazz Festival Facebook page, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 973-744-
2273. For information about Jazz House Kids, visit www.jazzhousekids.org.