MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair Public Library hosted an afternoon of live music at the close of Black history month. Approximately 75 people attended the free community event.
Montclair-based nonprofit, Jazz House Kids Quintet performed. Directed by Anthony Ware who was also on saxophone, and accompanied by Ted Chubb on trumpet, Zaccai Curtis on piano, Nimrod speaks on acoustic bass and Chris Beck on drums.
Chubb, manager of student and artistic performance at Jazz House Kids school, performed while Ware moderated.
The first song played was "The Work Song". It harkened back to a time of slavery when music helped make jobs easier, or expressed the sentiments of the workers.
Chubb examined jazz's contribution to culture saying it was "America's gift to the world courtesy of the black community."
"It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing" played while the audience clapped along. The cross-fertilization between music and dance unified parents who were doo-wopping, to children whose happy feet were spotted under their seats tapping to the beat.
Dance was described as an important part of jazz that carried into the swing era. Ware said Duke Ellington brought class to the music and made it something beyond dance. He said, “swing is about connecting and sharing”.
Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie, examples of the bebop era, which overlapped with the swing era, were next up on the playlist. Gillespie contended that music also requires intellect, and as musical tempo quickened it became difficult to play, and more intricate. "Night in Tunisia" was one of the songs used to demonstrate that complexity. Afro-Cuban rhythms mixed with jazz delighted the audience, while the history given provided perspective.
Audience member, Svetlana Kuzmina, said, "This is not the first library event I've attended but it is the first Black history month event I have come to. It's wonderful how the library hosts events for the community to enjoy. I really enjoyed the performance today."
Following Jazz House Kids, there was a book signing and reading by Denise Lewis Patrick. The Louisiana born Montclair resident and author of several works, had her most recent book, “A Matter of Souls” available for purchase with the collaboration of Watchung Booksellers.
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