Friday, October 14, 2016



Recognized the world over not only by their bold-face names, but especially by their superb talents, the artists headlining the New Jersey Performing Arts Center's 5th annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival validate the Arts Center as the state's most diverse and artistically excellent presenter.

Christian McBride, Multi-Grammy Award winner and NJPAC Jazz Advisor, says, "This season, I'm especially looking forward to leading an all-star concert tribute to Newark's the "Divine One" Sarah Vaughan and beyond excited to be part of a very special reunion of James Brown alumni in Prudential Hall with guests including Sharon Jones, Bettye La Vette, Lee Fields, Ryan Shaw and others. Throughout the TD James Moody Jazz Festival, you'll be hearing from legendary Cuban singer Omara Portuondo, Wynton Marsalis, the greats of GRP Records, and many others. That's the kind of company we keep."

The 2016 TD James Moody Jazz Festival, named in honor of Newark saxophone virtuoso, kicks off on October 15 when Buena Vista Social Club present Omara Portuondo's "85 Tour." There's no better way to celebrate the great Cuban diva and artistic ambassador's 85th anniversary and 70 years of performing professionally then a musical party with special guests Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca, clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen and jazz violinist Regina Carter. On November 1, Wynton Marsalis leads an amazing roster of artists, including Catherine Russell, Angélique Kidjo, Talib Kweli and many more, for Jazz in the Key of Ellison, a special evening of live music inspired by the Harlem jazz world that novelist Ralph Ellison loved and knew so well, including live readings from his writings on music.

The highlights don't stop there. On November 13, two-time Tony winner Judy Kaye sings the great Cole Porter songs at Cole Porter from A to Z: Celebrating 125 Years; the event will be hosted by Cole Porter biographer Robert Kimball. On November 16, the powerful, electrifying afrobeats of the Tony award-winning Broadway show Fela! The Concert come to NJPAC, featuring a 10-piece band and cast members from the original Broadway production. GRP Jazz Revisited (November 17) offers a who's who of alumni from GRP Records, the groundbreaking jazz label founded by jazz pianist/composer Dave Grusin and the late jazz producer Larry Rosen; Grusin, Lee Ritenour, Phil Perry, David Sanborn and The Yellowjackets will perform music from the studio's heyday.

The festival will also pay homage to two icons -- James Brown and Sarah Vaughan -- with all-star concert salutes. Get on Up: A James Brown Celebration (November 18) includes bassist Christian McBride, a passionate James Brown expert, presiding over an ultra-high-energy, all-star concert salute of the Godfather of Soul, with special guests Sharon Jones, Bettye LaVette, Lee Fields, Ryan Shaw, Terrace Martin, and James Brown Band alumni Pee Wee Ellis, Danny "Capeman" Ray, Robert "Mousey" Thompson and Fred Wesley. Newark's "Divine One" -- Sarah Vaughan -- will be featured at a pair of events: Sarah Vaughan Celebration (November 19) with the Christian McBride Trio and special guests vocalists Dianne Reeves, Lisa Fischer and Sheila Jordan; and, the annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition (November 20), a career-making opportunity for five top female singers to vie for the "SASSY Award."

In addition, Dorthann's Place, NJPAC's popular Sunday jazz and brunch combo held in NICO Kitchen + Bar, begins its season during the festival with Renee Rosnes on November 20.