Montclair Jazz Festival

The fifth annual Montclair Jazz Festival is kicking off this August and Montclair citizens are encouraged to take advantage of this free community event.

The Fifth Annual Montclair Jazz Festival heats up summer.

Jazz pattern
© Anna Raspopova | Dreamstime Stock Photos

On August 16, the Montclair Jazz Festival will take place in Nishuane Park for the fifth year in a row. The festival is a full eight hour event produced by Jazz House Kids, with a different performance about every half hour. Jazz House Kids is an organization that supports music education for all ages located on 347 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair.

The Montclair Jazz Festival is hosted by S. Epatha Merkerson, who is a performer herself. She has performed in both on and off-Broadway shows, where she has been nominated for a couple of awards. However, she is best known for her role as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on Law and Order.

This year, the festival’s lineup includes: Christian Mcbride, John Scofield, Chuchito Valdes, Melissa Walker and Bruce Williams. This is not including over 100 additional jazz musicians who study with Jazz House Kids. Christian Mcbride, who has been performing for 25 years, will perform with John Scofield, who is also an adjunct professor at the Music of New York University, as well as a performer.

Melissa Walker will sing music by Nina Simone and Abbey Lincoln, whose music she usually sings when she performs in places like the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the Jazz Standard in Manhattan. Chuchito Valdes will be one of the final performers, who says his music is a tribute to his grandfather, who passed away this past March at 94 years old. However, these are only four of the performers. The festival includes at least seven Jazz House Kids bands like the 52nd Street Big Band, Afro-Latin Big Band and Dynasty Big Band. The Jazz House also has other performers, like singers and a sax ensemble.

In addition to music, the festival also includes food vendors, merchandise, and a beer garden for guests over 21. These areas are run by generous volunteers of the community. It is a great opportunity to give back and enjoy the festival at the same time.

When you talk to people about jazz music, they might tell you how it’s hard to understand because it’s all over the place and there’s no pattern. The Montclair Jazz Festival is the perfect place to bring these people and show them to appreciate different music genres. You have nothing to lose, since it’s free to get in! It’s the great place to relax: listening to good music, in a beautiful park, with great food vendors, in the friendly town of Montclair. This festival is also a place to go and make friends and enjoy the summer, as it slowly comes to a close.

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