Six Bands, Signature Cocktails and More: Body & Soul, Jazz House Kids Winter Event, Returns February 10

Jazz House Kids presents its annual winter sensation, Body & Soul​ on Saturday, February 10, 2018​. Tickets begin at $150, and are now available online and by phone 973-744-2273.

One of the area’s biggest and most popular winter events, the evening will present a cooking demonstration by Chris Cannon, proprietor of Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen in Morristown, along with New Orleans- and New York-style menus, all expertly paired with wines selected by Cannon. The event also spotlights six bands spanning musical genres from Big Band and Tango to New Orleans “Trad Jazz” and Funk. New this year, the event will feature a special “Late Set” with Jazz House Kids Artistic Director, 5-time GRAMMY award-winning bassist Christian McBride​, spinning as “DJ Brother Mister” for an old-school soul funk dance party.

Other featured ensembles over the course of the evening include:

Pedro Giraudo Tango Quartet​: After two decades performing with the most important interpreters of tango in the United States, Pedro Giraudo debuted his own Tango Orchestra at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing in July 2015. The Pedro Giraudo Tango Orchestra features some of the finest tango musicians of today interpreting tangos ranging from the great traditional, classic tangos, to more modern tangos and original compositions. Among the many noteworthy events in Pedro’s career, in 2014 he recorded bass on Ruben Blades’ CD “Tangos”, which won two GRAMMY Awards.

Professor Cunningham & His Old School​: Deeply rooted in jazz and drawing from the rich musical and cultural tradition of New Orleans, Professor Cunningham brings Mardi Gras to Montclair! A roaring horn section playing the great tunes from early jazz to rhythm & blues – Bourbon Street, here we come. Fast becoming one of the top bands in the international Swing scene, having performed at Snowball (Stockholm), SLOX (California), Blue Note Jazz Fest (NYC), CPH:LX (Copenhagen) and Melbourne International Jazz Festival, the band is the winner of international band competition World Jam, (2016, 2017) held each year in Madrid, Spain.

Jazz House Big Band​: Under the leadership of noted saxophonist Abraham Burton, the award-winning Jazz House Big Band is comprised of exceptionally talented emerging musicians from across New Jersey. Considered one of the premier youth big bands in the nation, musicians are selected through competitive auditions. The students commit a full year to the ensemble and present a number of high-profile performances. The band is a six-time finalist in the national Charles Mingus High School Competition and Festival, and participants have been selected as National YoungArts Foundation Finalists, members of the GRAMMY Band, and more.

Classic Piano Trio​: So many emerging jazz stars have come up through the Jazz House program — and key on that list is West Orange, NJ, native Isaiah Thompson, leading this trio of young musicians. All three of these young artists are full time students at The Juilliard School. They bring a unique voice to jazz while still actively serving the established continuum.

Jazz House Kids Alumni Ensemble:
​ These emerging musicians, who were once Jazz House Kids themselves, are now making a name for themselves in their professional music careers. Even while attending college for music or as recent graduates, our alumni are active in the local scene and around the country.

Jazz House Kids president & founder Melissa Walker with Christian McBride, Jazz House Kids artistic director.

“We are so proud to bring together these incredible talents for one of the most highly anticipated social events of the season, where professional jazz musicians, community leaders and new and old friends mingle and mix,” said Melissa Walker, President & Founder of JAZZ HOUSE KiDS. “Jazz House Kids conducts more than 40 jazz education programs each week and performs over 100 concerts a year — reaching more than 25,000 annually — all of which is supported by benefit events like Body & Soul.”

Along with a fabulous new venue at 18 Label Studios Montclair, Body & Soul changes things up this year thanks to Cannon of Jockey Hollow, named “One of America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants” by Wine Enthusiast. Cannon will create a special menu and — during the Early Set Patron event — provide a cooking demonstration worthy of a “celebrity restaurateur.” Cannon will also select an assortment of unique wines to pair with the dishes to be served throughout the evening. The restaurateur, who oversaw New York City restaurants Marea, Convivio, and Alto before opening Jockey Hollow in 2015, is well known for his adventurous wine lists and discerning palate, so guests are guaranteed tastes from unusual and little-known wineries.

The evening will feature a series of unique jazz club settings, each with its own vibe where celebrated musicians come together with artfully paired wines, creative signature cocktails, and superb cuisine. The evening culminates in an all-new Late Set old-school funk dance party, led by the alter ego of virtuoso jazz bassist Christian McBride: DJ Brother Mister. As DJ Brother Mister, McBride will spin classic R&B, soul and funk records and play along with his bass, making this unique experience one you won’t want to miss.

The evening benefit will also feature live and silent auctions with fabulous prizes including a 3-night hotel stay at the Hamilton Princess in Bermuda; a 3-night hotel stay at the COMO Metropolitan in Miami; a luxury box at the Prudential Center for an upcoming event; and a celebrity chef experience featuring dinner for 6 at the home of Ariane Duarte (celebrated owner and chef of award-winning Ariane Kitchen & Bar). The organization has also added a Raffle for 2018, with such prizes as tickets to an upcoming event at the Prudential Center in Newark and tickets to “Late Night with Seth Myers.”

Body & Soul is generously hosted by longtime Montclair residents Susan & Chris Gifford and Holly English & Fred Smagorinsky. This year’s signature event also is supported by numerous Body & Soul Host Committee Members along with in-kind donors Steven Plofker & Bobbi Brown, Steinway & Sons, Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, and David Bowler & Vine Street Imports. All proceeds from Body & Soul support the JAZZ HOUSE KiDS Music & Education Fund, which provides in-school jazz education programs and instruments for students at 16 urban schools in four New Jersey counties.

For more information and to purchase tickets to Body & Soul, call 973-744-2273 or visit

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