WEST ORANGE, NJ - Hundreds of community members attended The 12th Annual OSPAC Jazz and Brew Festival on Saturday, which was hosted by WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM Music Director Gary Walker. Adults relaxed to jazz music by: Enrico Granafei, Madam Pat Tandy, Bill Charlap Trio, Oscar Perez Latin Jazz Explosion, Bob DeVos Organ Quartet, the Eric Alexander/Harold Mabern Quartet and David Stryker Organ Quartet, while sipping beer and wine, as children had their faces painted.
This was the last seasonal event planned through Sept. by the New Jersey Arts Incubator (NJAI) at OSPAC for the community.
"It's an important part of the incubator's mission to showcase our local talent," said Arts Incubator Executive Director Susan Anderson.
"The OSPAC Jazz Fest is a beacon of the state's jazz scene and we're proud to present it," she added.
The festival kicked off at 12:30 p.m., with “Two Sides of Singing” via vocalist/guitarist/harmonist Enrico, Hammond organ player Dan Kostelnik and drummer Steve Johns. Part two of “Two Sides of Singing” continued with vocalist Tandy.
At 2 p.m., the Bill Charlap Trio performed including pianist Charlap, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington. Charlap has performed with Tony Bennett, Gerry Mulligan and Phil Woods in the past. In addition, the trio is long recognized as one of the leading groups in jazz music.
At 3:15 p.m., Oscar Perez Latin Jazz Explosion! took to the stage. The group included pianist Perez, tenor saxophonist Mike Lee, trumpet player Ted Chubb, bassist Thomson Kneeland and drummer Alvester Garnett. They combined Cuban folk music with classical and jazz music to create a unique sound.
The Bob DeVos Organ Quartet appeared at 4:30 p.m. with Guitarist Devos, tenor saxophonist Ralph Bowen, Hammond organ player Kostelnik and drummer Johns. Their latest CD “Six Strings Solos” has just been released.
The festival continued with the Eric Alexander/Harold Mabern Quartet at 5:45 p.m. This group included tenor saxophonist Alexander and pianist Mabern. The quartet has toured all around the world and released seven recordings on the Milestone and Alfa (Japan) labels.
The David Stryker Organ Quartet finished up the festival at 7 p.m. The quartet included guitarist Stryker, tenor saxophonist Steve Slagile, Hammond organ player Pat Bianchi and Drummer McClenty Hunter.
“The Jazz fest was another creative and family-oriented event that the township is proud of,” said President of the Township Council Jerry Guarino. “It's another way that through the NJAIC, West Orange can offer our residents and visitors from around the state, the best in jazz music by local and national artists. The Jazz Fest also allows West Orange to show residents and visitors one of our most significant cultural assets (OSPAC) that contributes to the development of our arts programs, which benefits our students and their future creative spirit.”
While the main event was the jazz music and the beer and wine garden, many local vendors also joined the party. There were around 15 local vendors selling food, clothing, jewelry, pet services and more.
Since this was supposed to be the last nice Saturday of the year, the music allowed for everyone to enjoy the end of summer and beginning of fall outdoors.
“There are a ton of people soaking up the sun, taking in the music,” said Eric Pogue. “The bar is booming and there is such a good community feel.”
Pogue also added that OSPAC promotes the community through an opportunity for gathering. He said that the weather, music, location and food were all perfect to bring people together.
“This is such an exciting event,” said Sheryl Starr. “There is the perfect weather, great music, yummy food, and nice drinks.”