The No Tickets Required Montclair Jazz Festival is back, BIGGER and BETTER than ever! New Jersey's eclectic arts town of Montclair will once again transform into a destination for thousands of elated music fans as the 7th Annual Montclair Jazz Festival produced by acclaimed Jazz House Kidskicks off nine hours of world-class jazz on Saturday, August 13th in Nishuane Park. The Bravitas Group and Silver Family Foundation returns as Title 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!
Artistic Director, bassist Christian McBride
; Mistress of Ceremonies, actor S. Epatha Merkerson
; and WBGO's Gary Walker
lead the stage action for the Montclair Jazz Festival. This year's all-star headliners include the Dee Dee Bridgewater Quintet; A Christian McBride Situation; George Coleman Organ Quartet
and Louis Prima, Jr.
The world-class artists perform on the same stage with more than 200 multi-generational performers including festival favorites The Jazz House Faculty Collective
directed by Ed Palermo
celebrating the music of David Bowie and Prince
; Michele Rosewoman and New Yor-Uba
; and nine award-winning Jazz House Kids' student ensembles and vocal group
s ranging in age from 8 to 18. 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, emerging artists.
The Montclair Jazz Festival is the brainchild of jazz vocalist and recording artistMelissa Walker, with creative direction from her husband, Christian McBride,who was just named the Artistic Director of the Newport Jazz Festival taking the reigns from George Wein who is recognized as the creator of the jazz festival concept. Walker is the president and founder of Jazz House Kids, a Montclair-based nonprofit that has gained a reputation as one of the nation's preeminent arts education and performance organizations. According to Walker, the Montclair Jazz Festival is the pinnacle musical and community engagement program for the organization, which 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. With an emphasis on access and inclusion for all young people, Jazz House Kids provides more than 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."
Jazz House Kids offers more than 20 instrumental and vocal jazz classes at the Jazz House for students new to jazz through to pre-college programming, and provides access to music education in underserved school districts, with programs in 10 schools in Newark, Orange, Union and Elizabeth. Jazz House Kids also places instruments in the hands of young people who want to play but can't afford instruments. Each year, Jazz House Kids brings jazz into the community through more than 75 student performances and reaches of more than 25,000 people through its events, performances and programming.
PRE- FESTIVAL ACTIVITIES:
Leading up to Montclair Jazz Festival, special activities are planned throughout the summer that involve all quadrants of the town. A sponsor kick-off mixer hosted by The Bravitas Group and Silver Family Foundation at Hillside Square is planned for mid-July. In August, the Montclair Jazz Festival will launch its Mid-Day Summer Concert + Symposium Series
curated by festival artistic director Christian McBride
and featuring special jazz guests alongside Jazz House Kids' acclaimed faculty. The guest artists, including drum legends Louis Hayes
and Billy Hart
, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen
, guitarist Dave Stryker
, pianist Harold Mabern
, and Montclair Jazz Festival headliners, will also conduct master classes for more than 160 students at the Jazz House Summer Workshop
, Jazz House Kids' nationally recognized summer program. Held at the John J. Cali School of Music's Leshowitz Hall at Montclair State University
, the afternoon concerts (Monday, August 1 through Friday, August 12), 2:15-3:30 pm), are open to the public with No Tickets Required. For a complete summer concert schedule, visit here
The Montclair Jazz Festival weekend officially begins with the North Coast Brew Master Festival Kickoff, a dinner and an intimate sampling of highly-rated ales on August 13th at Montclair's Pig & Prince Restaurant. These events, as well as a post-Festival jam session party at Thom's Saloon in West Orange, lay the groundwork for Jazz House Kids and its community partners to establish an annual destination festival in Northern New Jersey.
DAY OF FESTIVITIES:
The Montclair Jazz Festival is a fun-filled day with entertainment for the entire family. New this year, the Festival has an expanded footprint for its Family Jazz Discovery Zone
, a collaboration among Jazz House Kids and partnersMontclair Public Library
and Montclair Art Museum
. The "Zone" will feature additional healthy family food vendors, music-related story books read by festival headliners, live music from the youngest Jazz House Summer Workshop students and a host of kid-friendly art activities for wee-boppers and their parents. For a complete schedule rundown of the Zone, visit here
Also returning to the festival is the popular Beer Garden, sponsored by North Coast Brewing Co., which donates 100% of the proceeds to support Jazz House Kids Music + Education Fund, which raises much-needed funds to close the gap in access to music education in schools and communities across New Jersey.
Getting to the Montclair Jazz Festival has never been easier. The FREE Montclair Jazz Festival Shuttle will stop at several new key parking points throughout Montclair and West Orange. An expanded bike valet sponsored byDiamond Cycle will offer free, convenient parking for those traveling by two wheels.
The distinctive and colorful jazz icon portraits by artist Andres Chaparro
once again provide the face and overall texture of the Montclair Jazz Festival. This year's featured artwork is Chaparro's interpretive portrait of avant-garde saxophonist Albert Ayler. Richard Conde
, an acclaimed photographer whose work has been showcased in National Geographic, The New York Times and numerous jazz publications, and official photographer for the Montclair and other prominent festivals including Newport, Conde's acclaimed work will be on display and for sale at the Montclair Jazz Festival.
MEET THE TALENT:
Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor S. Epatha Merkerson
is back as the Montclair Jazz Festival's Mistress of Ceremonies
. Merkerson currently stars in the NBC drama "Chicago Med" as Sharon Goodwin, the chief of the hospital and is best known for her 17-season run as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on NBC's "Law and Order", for which she won three NAACP Image Awards. 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 performers.
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. He recently won a 2016 GRAMMY Award for "Best Improvised Jazz Solo," the only bassist to ever win in this category, and was recently appointed Artistic Director of the Newport Jazz Festival. McBride hosts and produces "The Lowdown: Conversations With Christian" on SiriusXM satellite radio, and 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. He also serves as Artistic Chair for Jazz House Kids.
This year, McBride welcomes Montclair Jazz Festival headliner and newly-named NEA Jazz Master
for 2017, 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, combining 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 will perform at the Montclair Jazz Festival with her Quintet, featuring Theo Croker on trumpet, Anthony Ware on saxophone, Michael King on piano and organ, and Eric Wheeler on bass.
Also headlining at this year's festival is NEA Jazz MasterGeorge Coleman
who heads the all-star organ ensemble with Mike LeDonne on organ, Yotam Silberstein on guitar, and George Coleman, Jr. on drums. After a rigorous apprenticeship in his native Memphis, including a stint with B.B. King, living legend, tenor saxophonist George Coleman rose to jazz prominence for his solid, soulful playing with the famed Miles Davis Quintet of 1963-64 and his memorable performances on the classic Miles albums and has led an illustrious five decade career.
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 will be playing both acoustic and electric bass. The Situation was born 11 years ago at the Monterey Jazz Festival, when a couple of McBride's band members couldn't make the gig. His manager said "It looks like we have a Christian McBride situation..." McBride thought that sounded cool, so he uses the name for any eclectic group of musicians he brings together, and always resulting in a wildly avant-garde sound of street beats and improv.
Renowned pianist and composerMichele Rosewoman
brings her 11-piece ensemble New Yor-Uba
, an exciting celebration of Cuban music in America. The name "New Yor-Uba" reflects the progression of the music of the ancient Yoruba people from Nigeria, through Cuba to present day New York. Rosewoman, a Jazz House Kids teaching artist, is widely credited with being one of the first composers to synthesize sacred Cuban folkloric music with a thoroughly contemporary jazz concept.
Louis Prima, Jr.
takes a page from his father's playbook bringing new energy and a 21th century attitude to the famed Prima Swing! Louis Prima was born in 1910, and became a legendary songwriter, bandleader and musician known as one of the greatest contributors towards modern music of all time. His son, the iconic singer, songwriter and entertainer, will be featured at the Montclair Jazz Festival performing with the award winning Jazz House Big Band
and the Jazz House Dynasty Band
. Jazz House Kids is honored to announce Gia Maione Prima Foundation's establishment of 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.
Also performing is The Jazz House Faculty Collective
, directed by Nathan Eklund
with music arrangement by Ed Palermo
. The group includes nationally and internationally recognized jazz artists who serve as faculty members for the Jazz House Summer Workshop.
The future of jazz will be showcased as more than 150 students from the Jazz House Summer Workshop perform throughout the day.
The Montclair Jazz Festival is presented by The Bravitas Group and Silver Family Foundation
, with lead support from North Coast Brewing Co
., theNational Endowment for the Arts
for the Wellmont Theater, and TD Bank
. The festival is also supported by Keller Williams, NorthStar Cruises, Arctic Glacier, Clara Maass Medical Center/RWJBarnabas Health, Comcast
and Ben & Jerry's
. 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, WNYC New York Public Radio, Jazz Times, The Montclair Times, Baristanet and TapIntoMontclair.
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. Directions