NJPAC Announces Lineup For 11th James Moody Jazz Festival

 11th annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival.
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Photos: NJPAC\YouTube

Newark, New Jersey (September 6, 2022) — The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) has an exciting line-up of the highly anticipated 11th annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival. This year’s program offers events combining jazz luminaries in collaboration with artists known for R&B, poetry, hip hop, and so much more.

The festival kick-starts November 10th with two powerhouse concerts: one of the today’s most creative forces in the contemporary jazz scene, Terence Blanchard, will be joined by his E-Collective and Turtle Island Quartet for a special tribute to Wayne Shorter; and American Idol winner Fantasia pairs up with one of the best new voices in jazz, Jazzmeia Horn (2013 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition winner).

The festival continues with a pair of contemporary dance-jazz collaborations: famed tap artist Savion Glover with jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater (Nov 12) followed by a world premiere commissioned by NJPAC by Carolyn Dorfman Dance and renowned jazz violinist Regina Carter (Nov 16). On Nov 19, NJPAC hosts for a special night of leading voices in jazz, hip hop and poetry including The Last Poets, Rakim, Chuck D, and more. The future of jazz will be on full display on the final day of the festival (Nov 20) as up-and-coming singers compete in the 11th annual “The Sassy Awards.”

Working with NJPAC’s jazz advisor Christian McBride, NJPAC’s executive vice president and executive producer David Rodriguez has curated a festival honoring the jazz legacy of New Jersey while looking to the future of the music. “I love Newark’s history of jazz, all the legendary musicians who came from Brick City. Celebrating that history is a vital part of this festival — but so is shining a spotlight on new voices, young artists, and collaborations that honor the deep connections between jazz and hip hop, R&B, dance and the spoken word,” says McBride.

“I’ve often said that jazz is the most democratic form of music, because in order for a great jazz performance to happen, the artists need to listen to each other, share their creativity and collaborate to create unforgettable music. Jazz is a metaphor for our democracy. When we work together, when we listen to each other, anything is possible. This year’s Moody Festival is a testament to that principle,” says John Schreiber, President, and CEO of NJPAC.

For the 11th consecutive year, the festival is sponsored by TD Bank, which has supported the event since its inauguration, ensuring that the event annually includes free community performances and educational events, as well as mainstage concerts showcasing jazz superstars. “We know that music brings people together, and jazz, in particular, has a way of dissolving boundaries,” says Martin Melilli, Market President at TD Bank. “We believe in the power of the arts to connect us all, and we are proud to sponsor a Festival that offers everyone in New Jersey so many ways to find joy, community and inspiration.” Below is a complete schedule, along with information about the programs.

TUE 11.8 @ 7:00 P.M.

A BEAUTIFUL BOND

FREE.: VIRTUAL EVENT - NJPAC’S FACEBOOK LIVE

Reggie Workman (bass, hand percussion)

Nasheet Waits (drums)

Sullivan Fortner (piano)

Christian McBride (co-host)

Vincent Toro (co-host)

Poetry and jazz illuminate the intersection of Black and Latinx liberation movements in the Americas in this free City Verses performance. This unique partnership between NJPAC and Rutgers University-Newark celebrates the rich historical connection between jazz and poetry, creates opportunities for public engagement, strengthens community ties through the arts, amplifies the authentic voices of the people of Greater Newark, and engages a new generation of poets, jazz musicians and teaching artists. Conceived of by poet, playwright, director, and educator Vincent Toro (Rutgers University-Newark MFA and mentee of Rigoberto Gonzalez, Poetry AD for City Verses and Director of Creative Writing Program at Rutgers) and NJPAC’s Jazz Advisor Christian McBride, A Beautiful Bond is as a prelude to McBride’s suite “The Movement Revisited,” which celebrates the civil rights movement through the work of four of its leaders - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and Muhammed Ali. For this special engagement, the live jazz trio includes some of today’s top artists including NEA Jazz Master Reggie Workman. The featured poets include Mahogany L. Browne (Lincoln Center’s current and first poet-in-residence), John Murillo, Willie Perdomo, and Aracelis Girmay. This program is supported through NJPAC and Rutgers-Newark’s City Verses: Elevating Voices through Jazz and Poetry initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

THU 11.10 @ 7:30 P.M.

TERENCE BLANCHARD FEATURING THE E-COLLECTIVE & TURTLE ISLAND QUARTET

TIX: $59-$69 @ VICTORIA THEATER

Terence Blanchard (trumpet, synths)

Charles Altura (guitar)

Taylor Eigsti (piano/keyboard/synths)

David Ginyard, Jr. (electric bass)

Oscar Seaton (drums)

David Balakrishnan (violin)

Gabriel Terracciano (violin)

Benjamin von Gutzeit (viola)

TBD (cello)

Kick-starting the 11th annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival is trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard joined by his electric ensemble The E-Collective and acclaimed neo-classical string ensemble Turtle Island Quartet with his 2021 Blue Note release Absence—a powerful tribute to the great Wayne Shorter.

Blanchard reimagines songs from across Shorter’s vast catalog and shares original music inspired by the legendary saxophonist—resulting in “a lush and dramatic soundscape that calls to mind Blanchard’s career as a successful film composer.” The New Yorker). According to Downbeat, “Terence Blanchard has always been forward thinking, but with E-Collective he shoots straight into tomorrow adding all sorts of different types of electricity and attitude to a new set of tunes.” When he’s not wowing crowds around the world with his masterful jazz trumpet, two- time Oscar nominee and Grammy Award winner Terence Blanchard is blowing audiences away with his film scores (Spike Lee films including When the Levees Broke, Malcolm X, Da 5 Bloods and BlacKkKlansman) and operas (Fire Shut Up in My Bones opened the Metropolitan Opera’s 2021-22 season).

THU 11.10 @ 8:00 P.M. FANTASIA WITH JAZZMEIA HORN FANTASIA (VOCALS)

TIX: $49-$119 @ PRUDENTIAL HALL.

Fantasia (vocals)

Jazzmeia Horn (vocals)

Grammy-winning R&B superstar, actress, and author Fantasia broke onto the scene in 2004 as the season three winner of Fox’s American Idol. She was the first artist in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart to debut at No. 1 with her first hit single, “I Believe.” Her other chart-toppers include “When I See U,” “Free Yourself,” and “Without Me.” Fantasia will be joined by Grammy-nominated singer Jazzmeia Horn who has been praised by DownBeat for her “astounding technique,” while All About Jazz lauded her “wonderfully intuitive improvising and heartfelt phrasing.” She’s a major award winner, including first place in the 2013 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition and the 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition.

SAT 11.12 @ 3:00 P.M. + 7:30 P.M.

DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER AND SAVION GLOVER: INTERPRETATIONS

TIX: $59-$69 @ VICTORIA THEATER

Dee Dee Bridgewater (vocals)

Savion Glover (tap)

Icons Dee Dee Bridgewater and Savion Glover come together in both solo sets and together for an evening of jazz, dance, and improvisation like you’ve never seen before.

Over the course of a multifaceted career spanning four decades, Grammy and Tony Award-winning jazz giant Dee Dee Bridgewater has ascended to the upper echelon of vocalists, putting her unique spin on standards, as well as taking intrepid leaps of faith in re-envisioning jazz classics. Ever the fearless voyager, explorer, pioneer and keeper of tradition, the three-time Grammy-winner most recently won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album for Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee. Bridgewater’s career has always bridged musical genres. In 2017 she was the recipient of an NEA Jazz Masters Fellows Award with honors bestowed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In December 2017, Bridgewater was presented with the ASCAP Foundation Champions award acknowledging her charitable contributions. In 2018, Bridgewater received the prestigious Doris Duke Artist Award. 2019 brought her induction in the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in recognition of her contributions to music and in celebration of her CD Memphis, Yes...I’m Ready. Savion Glover is a Tony Award-winning choreographer and legendary hoofer, whose career has spanned nearly four decades. He began his Broadway stage career as The Tap Dance Kid, and continued with Black and Blue, Jelly’s Last Jam and his award-winning Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk, which garnered him a Tony Award for Best Choreography. He has performed worldwide with jazz legends including McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes and Jack DeJohnette.

Film credits include Tap, starring Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis, Jr.; Spike Lee’s Bamboozled and George Miller’s Happy Feet and Happy Feet Two. Serving as dance advisor for NJPAC and as a member of its board of directors, he is dedicated to furthering arts education programming with Summer Intensives, established to help youth explore artistic expression.

SAT 11.12 @ 6:00 P.M.

BETHANY BAPTIST CHURCH JAZZ VESPERS: JON FADDIS

FREE THIS EVENT TAKES PLACE AT BETHANY BAPTIST CHURCH LOCATED AT 275 WEST MARKET STREET, NEWARK, NJ.

Jon Faddis (trumpet)

TBA (band)

Co-presented by the Bethany Baptist Church Jazz Vespers, NJPAC begins its season-long free concert series at Newark’s Bethany Baptist Church with trumpeter Jon Faddis. Faddis is known as one of the most innovative and inspiring jazz trumpeters of our time. Marked by both intense integrity and humor, Faddis earned accolades from his close friend and mentor Dizzy Gillespie, who declared of Faddis, “He’s the best ever, including me!” Meeting Dizzy Gillespie at the Monterey Jazz Festival and then sitting in with him at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco proved to be a pivotal beginning of a unique friendship between Gillespie and Faddis, one that spanned almost three decades. Two days before his 18th birthday, Faddis joined Lionel Hampton’s band as a featured soloist, moving from Oakland, CA to New York. Shortly after arriving in Manhattan, Faddis was invited to sit in with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra at the Village Vanguard; he rapidly became lead trumpeter for the band, touring the world. He soon formed his own quartet, and began directing orchestras, including the Grammy-winning United Nation Orchestra, the Dizzy Gillespie 70th Birthday Big Band, the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars and so much more.

SUN 11.13 @ 7:00 P.M.

TROUBLE NO MORE FEATURING SPECIAL GUEST DUMPSTAPHUNK IN TRIBUTE TO THE ALLMAN BROTHERS ALBUM, EAT A PEACH

TIX: $40.50-$80.50 @ PRUDENTIAL HALL

Brandon “Taz” Niederaurer (guitar, vocals)

Daniel Donato (guitar, vocals)

Dylan Niederauer (bass guitar)

Jack Ryan (drums)

Lamar Williams Jr. (vocals)

Nikki Glaspie (drums)

Peter Levin (keys)

Roosevelt Collier (pedal steel guitar)

Tony Hall (bass/guitar/vocals)

Nick Daniels (bass/vocals)

Alex Wasily (trombone)

Ashlin Parker (trumpet)

Devin Trusclair (drums)

Ivan Neville (vocals/keyboards)

Ian Neville (guitar)

Trouble No More (TNM) consists of six, seasoned Memphis musicians who have adored the Allman Brothers Band and played their music since the Allman Brothers first appeared on the scene in the late 60s. With the recent passing of Gregg Allman, Trouble No More endeavors to preserve the heritage and legacy of the great Southern Rock the Allman Brothers instigated.

TNM will be joined by New Orleans funk powerhouse Dumpstaphunk comprised of original core members Tony Hall and Nick Daniels, and the new additions of Alex Wasily, Ashlin Parker and Devin Trusclair, and Ivan and Ian Neville (the sons of Aaron Neville and Art “Poppa Funk” Neville respectively). Dumpstaphunk has built upon its family’s iconic NOLA legacy and transformed into an eminent 21st-century funk-fusion export. Modernizing and reinvigorating the Neville/Meters family groove has been one of the driving forces of Dumpstaphunk since the band spontaneously formed during the 2003 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Dumpstaphunk recently made its Madison Square Garden debut in 2021 opening for Dave Matthews Band. The band continues to celebrate its 2021 release Where Do We Go From Here (Mascot Label Group/The Funk Garage), the band’s first full length album in seven years, and undeniably the most powerful and politically pointed of their career.

In celebration of the Allman Brothers Band’s, the group Trouble No More will perform the album in its entirety. The iconic record was released 50 years ago in 1972 and contains some of the ABB’s most beloved songs, including “Melissa,” “Blue Sky,” “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More,” “One Way Out” and “Mountain Jam.”

SUN 11.13 @ 7:00 P.M.

YELLOWJACKETS

TIX: $65 @ VICTORIA THEATER

Russell Ferrante (piano, synths)

Bob Mintzer (woodwinds, EWI)

Will Kennedy (drums)

Dane Alderson (bass)

NJPAC welcomes back the Grammy Award-winning Yellowjackets: Russell Ferrante (piano, synths), Bob Mintzer (woodwinds, EWI), Will Kennedy (drums) and Dane Alderson (bass). After 25 albums and countless sold-out tours, the longstanding jazz-fusion quartet continues to push the creative boundaries of genre and composition. One of the most popular contemporary jazz ensembles of the 1980s and 1990s, the Yellowjackets was cited by JazzTimes as "...a perfectly combustible electric- acoustic outfit whose smart, often challenging and unpredictable compositions draw from fusion, postbop and contemporary jazz."

WED 11.16 @ 7:00 P.M.

REGINA CARTER AND CAROLYN DORFMAN DANCE

TIX: $30 & $45 @ VICTORIA THEATER.

Jazz Legends and The Power of Now! world premiere (NJPAC commission)

Regina Carter (violin)

NJPAC welcomes back the acclaimed New Jersey-based dance troupe, Carolyn Dorfman Dance. This performance features the world premiere of Jazz Legends and The Power of Now! (co- commissioned by NJPAC) choreographed by Carolyn Dorfman and Juel D. Lane set to a live performance by jazz violinist extraordinaire Regina Carter and the vibrant jazz recordings of trumpet legend Louis Prima. Carter is the Artistic Director of NJPAC’s Geri Allen Jazz Sumer Camp for young women and was recently awarded a 2023 NEA Jazz Master. With virtuosity, speed and depth, these artists take you on a heart-pounding roller coaster ride of life’s journeys—resulting in pure joy. According to Limón Dance Company, Carolyn Dorfman Dance is “musical, magical, and full of surprises.”

THU 11.17 @ 7:00 P.M.

JAZZ JAMS AT CLEMENT’S PLACE

PERFORMER TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON FREE

This event takes place at Clement’s Place located at 15 Washington Street, Newark, NJ. Co-presented by NJPAC and Wayne Winborne, Executive Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University-Newark, this marks the first in a series of Jazz Jam Sessions to be held during the 2022-23 school year. Held at Clement’s Place on the campus of Rutgers-Newark, this series is curated and directed by pianist and bandleader James Austin, Jr. in consultation with the Jazz. Advisory Committee of NJPAC’s Community Engagement Department. Don’t miss a top-flight lineup of jazz musicians!

FRI 11.18 @ 7:00 P.M.

NJMEA ALL-STATE JAZZ BAND AND CHOIR WITH SPECIAL GUEST

TIX: $30 @ THE CHASE ROOM

Christian McBride

NJMEA All-State Jazz

Band NJMEA All-State Jazz

Choir Christian McBride (special guest, bass) 

This annual concert event, co-presented by NJPAC’s Arts Education Department and the New Jersey Music Educators Association (NJMEA), brings together some of the very best young musicians and vocalists from across the state for a dynamic group performance. NJPAC’s Jazz Advisor and acclaimed jazz bassist/bandleader/composer Christian McBride will grace the stage as a special guest.