Launching The 2015 Montclair Jazz Festival: Bigger, Better and Big Plans For the Future

BY  |  Friday, Jul 31, 2015 10:50am  |  COMMENTS (0)

You’ve come a long way baby.

Montclair Jazz Festival, returning this year bigger and better, has grown every year along with the organization that started it all, Jazz House Kids. Both are here in Montclair, thanks to the vision of founder Montclair jazz vocalist and recording artist Melissa Walker, with creative direction from her husband, Christian McBride—a four-time GRAMMY Award-winning bassist, composer and arranger.

Photo: Neil Grabowsky

Rhonda and Bob Silver, presenting sponsors, join Christian McBride, Melissa Walker and S.Epatha Merkerson at launch party for the 2015 Montclair Jazz Festival. Photo: Neil Grabowsky

Jazz House Kids celebrated the official launch of the 2015 Montclair Jazz Festival with its first Sponsor/Artist/Media Mixer on Wednesday evening.

The event, a way to celebrate the generosity of sponsors who ensure the Montclair Jazz Festival remains a “No Tickets Required!” event, was held at Hillside Square, courtesy of The Bravitas Group/Silver Family Foundation, the Festival’s presenting sponsor.

Jazz House Kids students perform at launch party for 2015 Montclair Jazz Festival.

Jazz House Kids students perform at launch party for 2015 Montclair Jazz Festival.

Walker explained how Jazz House Kids started with humble beginnings. Inspired after mentoring youth at a WGBO event, she began working out of her kitchen to follow through on her vision to build a Jazz House.

“The reason it’s called Jazz House Kids, it’s about jazz, it’s about our future which is our kids, and it’s about a house that exists in the community. It’s also about creating global citizens and community leaders,” says Jazz House Kids founder Melissa Walker. “When you step into this year’s festival, you will see 150 students on stage with some of the greatest acts.”

Those acts include this year’s headliners — dynamic vocalist José James, the Paquito D’Rivera Quintet, and the Christian McBride Big Band featuring Melissa Walker. The world-class artists perform on the same stage with more than 150 multi-generational performers including festival favorites Radam Schwartz Organized, the Jazz House Faculty Collective directed by Ed Palermo, and Jazz House Kids award-winning student ensembles and vocal groups. S.Epatha Merkerson returns as mistress of ceremonies.

And when you are enjoying incredible live jazz – no tickets required – on Saturday, August 15, you can also imagine the future. “This festival will be a three-day weekend festival as soon as this hotel can get up,” says Walker, mentioning the hotel coming to Montclair from The Hampshire Companies, one of the festival’s sponsors. Next year, the Festival will remain at Nishuane Park, but its footprint will grow to incorporate more of the Montclair Center area. Continue Reading

The Weekend: Music, Music, and More Music!

BY  |  Thursday, Jul 30, 2015 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)


This weekend is all about music.

We told you about:

Here are some other great ways to spend your weekend:

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Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center to Host New Abstract Art Show

BY  |  Wednesday, Jul 29, 2015 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Mark AJ Szep

Bloomfield artist Mark AJ Szep will present his new art show “Spark of Creation” at the Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center from August 1 – August 31. An opening reception will be held Thursday, August 13 from 7:30 – 9:30 pm where the public can meet and greet the artist. Light refreshments will be served.

Spark of Creation is a series of black and white abstract paintings that were inspired by that single moment of creation when one drop of paint reaches the canvas and spreads outwards in undulations of expression and creativity.

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Outpost in the Burbs Takes Over Montclair Center Stage Saturday Night

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 28, 2015 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Outpost in the Burbs

Outpost in the Burbs will take over Montclair Center Stage this Saturday, August 1, offering a free night of great music.

Here is the fabulous line-up:

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Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Music Mondays

BY  |  Monday, Jul 27, 2015 11:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)


Ella McDonald, singer/songwriter

For fans of singer-songwriter Ella McDonald and Rock & Roll cover performers The Abandon Ship Band, last Monday evening meant more than a break in the hot, sticky weather. It meant that the long-awaited Music Mondays performances of both artists would arrive.

Hearts dropped, however, when a technical glitch forced the Bellevue Library to CANCEL the July 20th performances that afternoon. What could have ended up a heart-breaking evening of silent mourning was saved by Montclair chutzpah and hospitality when The Abandon Ship Band, made up of all four members of Montclair’s Horowitz-Stern family, refused to let the music die. A few signs encouraged Music Mondays fans to take a short walk from the Bellevue Library to the Abandon Ship Band’s backyard, and voilà! The newest musical venue in Montclair was born.

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Blind Broadcaster Ed Lucas to Discuss “Seeing Home” at Yogi Berra Museum on July 29

BY  |  Friday, Jul 24, 2015 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas StoryEd Lucas, the Emmy-winning blind broadcaster and sportswriter who refused to let his disability prevent him from achieving his dreams, will discuss his new memoir “Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story” at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center on July 29 at 2 pm.

Lucas, whose inspirational tale will soon be a major motion picture, was mentored by Yankee legend Phil Rizzuto, who encouraged him to pursue his passion—broadcasting. Lucas then overcame numerous obstacles to become a pioneer—the first blind person covering baseball on a regular basis, a career he has successfully continued for six decades.

Over his amazing life, the Jersey City-born Lucas has interviewed thousands of sports figures and celebrities, meeting everyone from kings and presidents to movie stars and Hall-of-Famers, and shares many of these encounters in his memoir.

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Experience the Magic of NJ Renaissance Faire at OSPAC

BY  |  Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

nj renaissance faire

This weekend, you have a chance to take a trip to Crossford, England back in time during the 1500s. You don’t need a time machine, because the players of the New Jersey Renaissance Faire are bringing their interactive theater to the Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center (OSPAC) in West Orange for the annual New Jersey Arts Incubator Renaissance Faire on July 25 and 26.

Entertainment abounds with acrobats, fire breathing, Shakespeare and music as well as the action of comedy sword fighting and drama at the Faire. You can also peruse the wares of the fine craftsmen that bring the village to life.

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U.S. Attorney for NJ to Speak at Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 21, 2015 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

PAUL FISHMANMontclair resident and U.S. Attorney for NJ Paul Fishman will speak at Temple Ner Tamid (936 Broad Street, Bloomfield) on Friday evening, July 24. His topic titled “Pursuing Justice: The Ongoing Evolution of Federal Law Enforcement,”  is a continuation of Temple Ner Tamid’s summer-long series of community members and leaders addressing the community on issues of political, social and religious significance.

Fishman will share his thoughts on crime prevention, prisoner reentry, building trust between the community and law enforcement, and federal law enforcement priorities.

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The Weekend: Cabaret, Comedy, St. Baldrick’s and More!

BY  |  Thursday, Jul 16, 2015 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)


So much to do!

We told you about:

Here are some other great ways to spend your weekend:

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Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast This Weekend in Montclair

BY  |  Wednesday, Jul 15, 2015 3:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Festival

Montclair’s Pine Street is getting decked in red, white and green for the annual Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast, which begins on Thursday, July 16 with a mass at 7 pm in honor of its patron saint Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The Feast on Friday, July 17, promises LOTS of food, fun, and festivities. DJ Dave Nixon will provide the music and invite the crowd to get on the mic for karaoke.

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