Last year, I was in the audience when the Mental Health Association of Essex County (MHAEC) put on its fantastic Jammin’ Away the Blues concert with Bettye Lavette. Jammin’ Away the Blues was introduced by Mental Health America in 2009 in collaboration with the International House of Blues Foundation as part of the national organization’s 100-year anniversary. The Montclair-based MHAEC was one of only 10 local affiliates from around the country selected to participate in the pilot program.
Michael Packer Blues Band opens for West, who will be backed by the George Mesterhazy Quartet, featuring Mr. Mesterhazy (Shirley Horn) on piano, Barak Mori (Madeline Peyroux) on bass, Jerome Jennings (Christian McBride, Sonny Rollins) on drums and Ed Cherry (Dizzy Gillespie) on guitar.
For a preview, listen to West perform Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone at the Jazz Standard with the George Mesterhazy Quartet.
MHAEC provides affordable psychiatric services for low income individuals and families, operates Prospect House, a rehabilitation center for mentally ill adults and seniors and offers Supported Employment Services (SES), a job training and placement program for mentally ill adults capable of maintaining employment. Through their Family Resource Center, the agency also offers a wide-variety of family support services as well as prevention/intervention and ‘mental wellness’ programs.