Wednesday, November 6, 2019

8th Annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival Nov. 9-24 @ NJPAC

8th Annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival
Christian McBride, Artistic Advisor

WHEN: November 9-24
NJPAC, 1 Center St., Newark

NJPAC is proud to partner with TD Bank, the festival's title sponsor, for the eighth consecutive year. Thanks to TD Bank's generous support and commitment to the arts, the TD James Moody Jazz Festival has quickly become one of the most noteworthy jazz festivals in North America. "TD Bank is thrilled to continue its relationship with NJPAC and the TD James Moody Jazz Festival," says Martin Melilli, TD Market President. "For us, supporting and increasing access to the arts is critical to enriching and empowering the communities where we live and work. We're honored to continue our support of this jazz festival and the efforts to create a more inclusive and culturally vital Newark."



Buddy Guy with Mavis Staples

WHEN: Sunday, November 10, at 7pm

At age 83, multiple Grammy Award-winning guitarist, singer and songwriter Buddy Guy – the recipient of the Presidential National Medal of Arts, among many other honors – is still laying down the blues with gusto, both in the recording studio and on tour.

For this performance, presented as part of NJPAC’s TD James Moody Jazz Festival, Buddy Guy will welcome Mavis Staples, the Grammy-winning vocalist who has masterfully balanced gospel and R&B since her early years performing with her family’s famous band, the Staple Singers. Guy’s incredible career has spanned over 50 years, yet he still sounds every bit as vital and youthful as he did back in his early days working with the late Junior Wells. Guy’s latest album, The Blues Is Alive and Well (featuring guest appearances by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, and others) was named “Blues Album of the Year” in the 2019 DownBeat Critics Poll, and Guy himself was named “Blues Artist of the Year.” The Blues Is Alive and Well is Guy’s 18th solo LP and the follow-up to his acclaimed Born to Play Guitar, which earned a 2016 Grammy for “Best Blues Album.” “Buddy Guy stands as one of the last true traditional blues legends of his time,” says Spill Magazine. “Front to back, The Blues Is Alive and Well is a flawless blues album and stands as one of the best records released this year.”

Chaka Khan

WHEN: Thursday, November 14, at 8PM

One of the reigning divas of R&B and soul, 10-time Grammy winner Chaka Khan (“I Feel for You,” “Through the Fire,” “I’m Every Woman,” “Ain’t Nobody”) returns to NJPAC.

From the moment she burst onto the music scene in the 1970s as the 18-year-old lead singer of the classic funk-rock band Rufus, Chaka Khan’s powerful voice and sensual, show-stopping stage presence set her apart from her peers. Throughout her solo career, she has lent her distinctive vocal style to a multitude of genres, including R&B, jazz, pop, rock, gospel, country, classical and dance music. As a multiple Grammy winner, Khan has racked up sales of over 75 million records worldwide, and has earned 10 No. 1 hits on the Billboard charts. “The influence of a vocal institution such as Chaka Khan never fades far from the minds of millions of fans, whether they be ardent followers or younger artists influenced by the masterful works of her five decades as a performer,” says Soul Tracks in its review of Khan’s brand-new album, Hello Happiness. “She makes each tune she touches a standout that is hard to resist, and even harder to forget.”

Steps Ahead, Michael Franks, and Spyro Gyra

WHEN: Friday, November 15, at 8PM

NJPAC’s TD James Moody Jazz Festival hosts this one-night-only concert featuring three of the top hitmakers in jazz.

Steps Ahead is the stellar jazz fusion group formed by legendary vibraphonist Mike Mainieri back in the 1970s. Known for a singular sound that melds elements of jazz, funk, rock and R&B, the group has long been one of the most influential ensembles in contemporary jazz. For this concert, Mainieri will be joined by Bill Evans (sax), Baron Browne (bass), Steve Smith (drums) and Adam Rogers (guitar). For more than three decades and on 17 albums, singer-songwriter Michael Franks has mesmerized listeners, weaving sensual lyrics over music that mixes jazz, soul, pop, chamber and more. His songs have been covered by Diana Krall, Natalie Cole, and the Carpenters, but Franks is also a gifted vocalist (“The Lady Wants to Know,” “Popsicle Toes”), with a deliciously expressive voice. On his new Rendezvous in Rio LP, he sways to a South American beat, working bossa nova into his musical brew. The members of Spyro Gyra are contemporary jazz icons, recording and performing together for over four decades now. Their potion of jazz, R&B, funk and pop has sold over 10 million albums worldwide. Spyro Gyra’s most recent projects – The Rhinebeck Sessions and The Best of the Heads Up Years – earned raves from top jazz critics. JazzTimes called the music “inspired,” while Jazz Weekly added: “These guys still sound GREAT!”

The Roots with A Christian McBride Situation

WHEN: Saturday, November 16, at 8pm

The TD James Moody Jazz Festival hosts an eclectic evening of cutting-edge R&B, funk, jazz and hip hop with The Roots – The Tonight Show’s Grammy-winning house band – with A Christian McBride Situation, bassist extraordinaire McBride’s experimental ensemble.

Christian McBride and The Roots have shared stages going back to their youth in Philadelphia, a musical partnership that will be renewed at this special performance. Led by Questlove and Black Thought, The Roots were named “one of the greatest live bands around” by Rolling Stone, and serve as the official house band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. This musically versatile crew has become one of the best-known and most respected in the business, winning four Grammy Awards, including Best R&B Album for Wake Up!, Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for "Hang in There" (with John Legend), and Best Group or Duo R&B Vocal Performance for "Shine." Bassist, composer and educator Christian McBride, the Jazz Advisor for NJPAC, has performed with greats like Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Pat Metheny and Milt Jackson, among others, moving freely among the worlds of R&B, pop-rock, classical and hip hop. He is a six-time Grammy winner and Artistic Director of the Newport Jazz Festival. McBride is also the host and producer of The Lowdown: Conversations with Christian on SiriusXM and NPR’s Jazz Night in America. With A Christian McBride Situation, McBride and company explore the bassist’s experimental side, playing an original musical mix McBride has described as “avant free-funk.” Members of the group are Christian McBride (leader and bass), Patrice Rushen (keys), Alyson Williams (vocals), Ron Blake (saxes), and Jahi Sundance and DJ Logic (turntables).


Nimbus Dance
Salute to Nina Simone and Nancy Wilson
with New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

WHEN: November 14 at 7PM

Nimbus Dance presents a program of bold modern dance with jazz at its roots, including Falling Sky, a world premiere collaboration with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and NJPAC.

The innovative Jersey City company Nimbus Dance, under the leadership of founding Artistic Director Samuel Pott, debuts Pott’s Falling Sky, set to a commissioned score by composer and drummer Qasim Naqvi, a member of the group Dawn of Midi. The new work, featuring musicians of the NJSO Chamber Orchestra on stage, represents a unique partnership of three major New Jersey arts institutions: Nimbus, the NJSO and NJPAC. The NJSO musicians also perform in Patch of Turf, Pott’s seminal 2015 collaboration with Naqvi and a tour-de-force for four virtuosic female performers. The program’s second half is composed of a pair of works informed by jazz. The After Party, by noted Philadelphia-based choreographer Dawn Marie Bazemore, formerly of Philadanco, is a vibrant and spirited homage to jazz legends Nina Simone and Nancy Wilson. Pott’s The Glare From These Horizons incorporates recordings by jazz artists Russell Malone and Skalpel and piano compositions by Kim D. Sherman.

After Midnight: The Music of the King Cole Trio

WHEN: November 15 at 7:30PM

Jazz singers Clint Holmes and Catherine Russell are joined by Billy Stritch on piano to celebrate the centennial of the extraordinary vocalist and keyboardist Nat King Cole

Long before he crooned his way into the hearts of listeners around the world, Nat King Cole (1919-1965) was already one of the greatest pianists in the history of jazz. This special NJPAC program will emphasize Cole’s remarkable jazz career and include many of his hits and signature songs: "Route 66," "It's Only a Paper Moon," "Sweet Lorraine," and many more – as well as his all-time classic album, After Midnight. Whether he’s singing selections from the Great American Songbook, contemporary classics, or stirring original pieces, Clint Holmes makes a one-of-a-kind, unforgettable experience of every performance. His newest release, Rendezvous, is a star-studded jazz collective and was honored with two Grammy nominations for the tracks “Every Time We Say Goodbye” with Jane Monheit and “There’s a Boat That’s Leavin’ Soon” with Dee Dee Bridgewater. Jazz vocalist Catherine Russell has toured the world, performing and recording with David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Feinstein, Paul Simon and many others, appearing on over 200 albums. In 2012, she won a Grammy Award as featured artist on the soundtrack album of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and earned a Grammy nomination for her 2016 album Harlem On My Mind. An award-winning composer, arranger, vocalist and jazz pianist of extraordinary range and sophistication, the evening’s music director, Billy Stritch, breathes new life into the Great American Songbook, all the while bringing an easy sense of humor and showmanship to his performances. He appeared with Christine Ebersole in the 2001 Broadway revival of 42nd Street and has been seen on TV in Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall, The Today Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Lee Ritenour with Dave Grusin & Friends

WHEN: November 21 at 7:30PM

An eclectic evening with Grammy Award-winning jazz guitarist Lee Ritenour (Captain Fingers, 6 String Theory) and pianist-composer Dave Grusin.

Lee Ritenour did his first session work in the late ‘60s with the Mamas and the Papas, who dubbed him “Captain Fingers” for demonstrating incredible dexterity while still in his teens. He earned a Grammy Award and 19 Grammy nominations, among many other honors, and recorded more than 40 albums, which have produced 35 chart songs. Ritenour’s diverse musical styles and brilliant technical chops have been put to work on more than 3,000 sessions with a broad spectrum of artists. He was a founding member of Fourplay, considered the most successful group in contemporary jazz, and created the biennial Six String Theory Competition for up-and-coming musicians around the world. In a prolific career that spans nearly five decades, Dave Grusin has distinguished himself as a composer, arranger, musician and bandleader, as well as a recording artist with over 25 albums to his credit and the co-founder of the influential jazz label GRP. He is one of America’s premier soundtrack composers, with more than 60 feature film scores to his credit, and was nominated eight times for the Academy Award. He is the subject of Barbara Bentree’s documentary Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time.

Christian Sands Presents the Erroll Garner 3 Piano Summit Featuring Helen Sung and Tadataka Unno

WHEN: November 22 at 7:30PM

An evening of top-notch, contemporary piano jazz with emerging keyboard star and Grammy nominee Christian Sands, joined by Helen Sung and Tadataka Unno.

At age 29, Christian Sands has already become a standard-bearer for a new generation of jazz pianists, and has earned five Grammy nominations, including one for Best Latin Jazz Piano Solo. He spent six years as the pianist in Christian McBride’s trio and Inside Straight quartet, and was classified as “a jazz star of the future” by Wynton Marsalis. Sands’ stylistic range includes stride piano, swing, bebop, progressive jazz, fusion, Brazilian, and Afro-Cuban. His acclaimed 2017 debut album, Reach, a combination of originals and covers, spent four weeks at the top of the Billboard Jazz Charts. “With a talent like Christian Sands at the keys, anything is possible,” says The New York Observer. Earlier this year, Christian was named creative ambassador to The Erroll Garner Jazz Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to his legacy.

Maurice Hines Is Tappin' Thru Life with The DIVA Jazz Orchestra

WHEN: November 23 at 3PM & 7PM

Broadway legend Maurice Hines, accompanied by The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, taps us through his incredible career in this jazzy, song-and-dance celebration that pays tribute to his brother, Gregory Hines, and more!

Backed by his tap protégés, The Manzari Brothers, as well as the acclaimed, all-female DIVA Jazz Orchestra directed by Sherrie Maricle, Tappin’ Thru Life includes Maurice Hines’ distinctive take on American standards like “Luck Be a Lady,” “Smile,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” “Get Me to the Church on Time,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and many more. The production arrives at NJPAC fresh from a run off-Broadway. Tony Award nominee Maurice Hines’ Broadway credits include Sophisticated Ladies, Bring Back Birdie, and Eubie! He was featured on the big screen in Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club, and won raves for his direction and choreography of the hit musical, Uptown … It's Hot! Hines’ critically hailed jazz albums include Maurice: I've Never Been in Love Before and To Nat King Cole, With Love. The Seattle Times credits Hines with "crowd-pleasing showmanship … as a song and dance man, he is quite irresistible." The New York Times describes him as “a whirlwind: limber, graceful and seemingly carefree.” In Tappin’ Thru Life, “Maurice Hines sings his heart out,” says The Washington Post. “He’s an old-school entertainer, the life of the party … he’s a spoonful of sugar and a shot of caffeine … it’s a pleasure to be in the company of a shameless, ebullient vaudeville heart.” Sherrie Maricle, leader of The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, won a 2014 Ovation award for best music direction for Tappin’ Thru Life. DIVA has toured the world and has been featured on a variety of TV specials, including the 25th anniversary of the Kennedy Center, CBS Sunday Morning and the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular.

Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition: SASSY Awards

WHEN: November 24 at 3PM

The eighth annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, also known as the “SASSY Awards,” gives outstanding jazz singers a platform for embarking on a career in the music business!

Held in honor of Newark’s “Divine One” – Sarah Vaughan – the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition attracts gifted young talents from around the globe to perform in the finals on November 24 at NJPAC. Singers are evaluated by a panel of special guest judges, and rated for vocal quality, musicality, technique, performance, individuality, artistic interpretation, and ability to swing. The first-place winner receives a $5,000 cash prize and a performance slot at the 2020 Newport Jazz Festival. “This esteemed event provides a platform for today’s outstanding jazz singers and gives audiences an early glimpse at tomorrow’s jazz stars,” writes Jazziz. Past winners have included Cyrille Aimée, Jazzmeia Horn, Laurin Talese and Quiana Lynell. This year’s event, which closes the 2019 TD James Moody Jazz Festival, will be hosted by WBGO-FM personality Gary Walker. Serving as judges are multi-GRAMMY™ winning bassist Christian McBride; acclaimed jazz vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater and Jane Monheit; jazz publicist Monifa Brown; and jazz producer Matt Pierson. Discover the jazz greats of tomorrow today at this amazing afternoon of performance.

Additional Performances

NJMEA All-State Jazz with Steve Turre

WHEN: November 15 at 7PM
The Chase Room

Discover the next generation of jazz artists at this annual concert, which brings together some of N.J.’s best young jazz musicians for a dynamic group performance. This year’s special guest is master trombonist Steve Turre.

Dorthaan's Place: Houston Person

WHEN: November 24 at 11AM & 1PM
NICO Kitchen + Bar

Tenor saxophonist Houston Person, one of the most eclectic players in all of jazz, is known for his mastery of swing, hard bop and soul jazz – and for his singular approach to the Great American Songbook.

Free Community Events

11/03 – Opening Reception with Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens @ Ahavas Sholom

11/06 – Scott Robinson Quartet @ Gateway IV - Newark

11/09 – Jazz Vespers with Bobby Sanabria @Bethany Baptist Church

11/12 – SchoolTime: Sean Jones Quartet ("The Lineage of Miles Davis") @ Victoria Theater

11/14 – Round Midnight Film Screening @ Clement’s Place

11/17 – Bobby Sanabria @ Ahavas Sholom

11/23 – Listen to the Sun Film Screening @ Bethany Baptist Church

Monthly – NJPAC Jazz Jams @ Clement’s Place, 15 Washington St., Newark


New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, N.J., is America's most diverse performing arts center, and the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey, where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state's and the world's best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted nearly 10 million visitors (including over 1.6 million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.

About TD James Moody Jazz Festival

Co-produced by NJPAC and WBGO Jazz 88.3FM, the TD James Moody Jazz Festival was inaugurated in 2012 and named in recognition of the jazz saxophone virtuoso from Newark. NJPAC's annual celebration of "America's classical music" is a spree of more than two dozen concerts and related activities – over half of which are free to the community. Guided by Christian McBride, NJPAC's Jazz Advisor, the festival has presented artists such as The Manhattan Transfer, David Sanborn, Tony Bennett, Wynton Marsalis, Al Jarreau, Dianne Reeves, Sérgio Mendes, Bill Charlap, Esperanza Spalding, Fantasia, Chris Botti, Pat Metheny, and the Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette trio, among many others. TD James Moody Jazz Festival is intrinsic to Newark, a city renowned as the home and creative inspiration for jazz geniuses including Sarah Vaughan and pianist Willie "The Lion" Smith, and institutions such as Savoy Records, the Rutgers-Newark Institute of Jazz Studies and WBGO Jazz 88.3FM. Among the festival's unique events are concerts and special attractions held off-campus throughout Newark.

About TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®

TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 9 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,200 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit Find TD Bank on Facebook at and on Twitter at

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