There are three annual festivals in Montclair that, together, sum up the beauty of this town—arts and food! The Montclair Film Festival, Montclair Food & Wine Festival, and the Montclair Jazz Festival celebrate it all. In August, the Montclair Jazz Festival will be back, bigger and better, offering an outstanding free day of music for all ages.
Artistic director Christian McBride and Mistress of Ceremonies, actor S. Epatha Merkerson, lead the stage action for the sixth annual Montclair Jazz Festival on Saturday, August 15 at Nishuane Park.
Headliners this year are 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. The unique array of musicians and exceptional festival experience all come together under Jazz House Kids’ far-reaching mission to bring America’s original musical art form to the community and use jazz as an exciting teaching tool to mentor and apprentice young, emerging artists.
The Montclair Jazz Festival is a fun-filled day with entertainment for the entire family. Returning to the festival is the Family Jazz Discovery Zone, a collaboration among Jazz House Kids and partners Montclair Public Library and Montclair Art Museum, which will feature healthy snacks, music-related story books read by festival musicians, and a host of other kid-friendly art activities for wee-boppers and their parents. Also returning to the festival is the popular Beer Garden, sponsored by North Coast Brewing Co., which donates 100% of the proceeds to Jazz House Kids.
This year, Jazz House Kids is proud to announce The Bravitas Group and Silver Family Foundation as the Festival’s new title sponsor. And, for the first time, the Montclair Jazz Festival will be streamed live so that music lovers around the globe don’t miss out on this grand event!
Leading up to Montclair Jazz Festival, special activities are planned throughout the summer that involve all quadrants of the town. A sponsor kick-off mixer hosted by The Bravitas Group and Silver Family Foundation is planned for mid-July. In early August, the Montclair Jazz Festival will launch its Mid-day Summer Concert Series, curated by festival artistic director Christian McBride and featuring special jazz guests alongside the Jazz House Kids’ acclaimed faculty. The special guest artists will also conduct master classes for more than 160 students at the Jazz House Summer Workshop, Jazz House Kids’ nationally recognized summer program. Held at Montclair State University’s outdoor amphitheater, the afternoon concerts are open to the public with No Tickets Required. The festival weekend officially begins with the North Coast Brew Master Festival Kickoff on August 13th at Montclair’s Pig & Prince Restaurant, a dinner and an intimate sampling of highly-rated ales. These events, as well as a post-Festival jam session party, lay the groundwork for Jazz House Kids and its community partners to establish an annual destination festival in Montclair.
The Montclair Jazz Festival is the brainchild of 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. Walker is the president and founder of Jazz House Kids, a Montclair-based nonprofit that has gained a reputation as one of the nation’s preeminent arts education and performance organizations.
“We are thrilled that the Montclair Jazz Festival has metamorphosed into much more than one great music day in the park,” said Walker. “The Montclair Jazz Festival in the summer has become part of the fabric of our community, solidifying this town’s standing as a thriving arts and cultural destination all year round. We are thrilled that our festival’s expanded footprint continues to grow, bringing jazz to all quadrants of Montclair’s business and arts districts.”