Montclair Jazz Festival Presents 15th Anniversary Edition


More than 250 artists will be featured over the course of this summer’s Montclair Jazz Festival.

(Photo: Jazz House Kids)

Jazz House Kids has announced the artist lineup and the slate of events for the summer-long 15th Anniversary of the Montclair Jazz Festival. Headliners include powerhouse vocalist Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton, and the festival’s music director, bassist Christian McBride, will perform with his Inside Straight quintet.Also coming to the stage are Jerome Jennings & Ill Philosophy, Edmar Castañeda Quartet, Steve Turre Sextet, Brianna Thomas, Montclair State University Jazz Ensemble directed by Oscar Perez, and the Jazz House Collective Celebrating Sarah Vaughan featuring vocalist Melissa Walker. The Jazz House Legacy Band will also perform, following their recent performance at the Sarah Vaughan Centennial hosted by Dee Dee Bridgewater, presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center. The Legacy Band tour continues on The Jazz Cruise Celebrity Summit, which sets sail in January 2025.
“One of the hallmarks of the Montclair Jazz Festival is to bring the very best of new and upcoming talent to the stage, coupled with an all-star cast of legendary artists we are excited to bring to town,” said McBride. “More than 250 artists will be featured over the course of the festival and one of my favorite comedians on the scene today, Alonzo Bodden.”

The summer-long, free festival kicks off with a series of performances at the Wellmont Arts Plaza and around the business areas of Montclair, New Jersey, before heading to Montclair State University for the Uptown Showcase featuring talented students from Jazz House Summer Workshop.

September brings the grand finale week with a series of community events leading up to the Bloomfield Avenue Downtown Jamboree. New this year, after eight hours of live music on two stages, the Montclair Jazz Festival transforms into a giant 15th Anniversary Celebration Block Party as DJ Brother Mister (aka Christian McBride) and New Jersey’s DJ Prince Hakim take over the Downtown Jamboree stage for a dynamic funk-and-soul dance party.

The Grand Finale event will welcome music fans on Sept. 14 along nearly half a mile of downtown Montclair’s Bloomfield Avenue commercial corridor. The event will include music and activities for the whole family and spotlight internationally acclaimed headliners, regional favorites and emerging talent on multiple stages, 170-plus food and artisan vendors in Rao’s Homemade Marketplace and the Family Jazz Discovery Zone in Wellmont Arts Plaza.

Leading up to the September date, Jazz House Kids will also be bringing some of the Montclair Jazz Festival’s Soundcheck Series events to the Wellmont Arts Plaza in downtown Montclair, including Wallace Roney Jr. on July 25, and Vanessa Perea and the Robert Edwards Big Band on Aug. 22. New to the festival this year is a collaboration with Wellmont Arts Plaza Outdoor Concert Series, with performances taking place throughout the summer (including Dopapod on July 11, Montclair Jamfest on July 27, The Ries Brothers on Aug. 8, Prince/Bowie on Aug. 14 and Spafford on Sept. 18) featuring Jazz House musicians in several opening acts (more shows to be announced soon).

Additional highlights will include an Uptown Showcase at Montclair State University on Aug. 17, with performances by more than 150 Jazz House Summer Workshop emerging musicians from New Jersey and across the U.S. and several countries, as well as a series of town-wide Community Emerging Musician Concerts featuring performances by Jazz House current students and alumni (dates and performers to be announced).

This year’s celebrated centennial artist is vocalist Sarah Vaughan, whose sublime musicianship and daring interpretations have inspired all subsequent generations of jazz singers. As tradition at the Montclair Jazz Fest, the Jazz House Collective, an ensemble directed by Nathan Eklund composed of Jazz House teaching artists, will feature Vaughan’s music with guest vocalists including Melissa Walker.

For more info on this year’s Montclair Jazz Festival, CLICK HERE. DB

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