2017 Montclair Jazz Festival Guide: What You Need To Know (VIDEO)

BY  |  Friday, Aug 11, 2017 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

The most important thing to know about the 2017 Montclair Jazz Festival? You don’t want to miss it. The biggest 1-day event in Montclair is all about music, fun, food and community. This year’s lineup features GRAMMY-Award winning headliners, regional favorites and performances on the main stage by more than 150 Jazz House Kids emerging musicians.

The all day “no tickets required” event features a Family Jazz Discovery Zone with activities for kids, a beer tent for grownups, parking shuttle, bike valet and 35+ concessions and vendors in sprawling Nishuane Park. Some 8,000-10,000 people are expected to attend.

The Montclair Jazz Festival is the brainchild of jazz vocalist and recording artist Melissa Walker. Walker is the president and founder of Jazz House Kids, a Montclair-based arts education and performance nonprofit that through 80 community concerts and the Montclair Jazz Festival reaches 25,000 people.

Award-winning bassist, composer and arranger Christian McBride, who is Jazz House Kids’ artistic chair and Montclair Jazz Festival artistic director (as well as artistic director for the Newport Jazz Festival!) will take the stage throughout the day. Award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson, from NBC’s “Chicago Med” and “Law and Order,” returns as mistress of ceremonies. Merkerson will be joined by WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM’s Gary Walker, as stage host.




Family Fun

Montclair Jazz Festival

Little be-boppers can groove while they play, create and enjoy story time at the Family Jazz Discovery Zone, a collaboration between Jazz House Kids, Montclair Public Library and Montclair Art Museum.


Getting There

A free Montclair Jazz Festival shuttle will run continuously from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., every 30 minutes, transporting passengers from designated parking lots to the Montclair Jazz Festival. If you decide to bike to the festival, Diamond Cycle is sponsoring free, on-site bike parking.


What To Bring

Your appetite! There will be food galore, from local restaurants and vendors, as well as a beer garden, sponsored by North Coast Brewing Company! Lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets are also permitted.


What: The 8th Annual Montclair Jazz Festival
When: Saturday, AUGUST 12, NOON – 9:00 PM (rain or shine)
Where: Nishuane Park, 48 High Street, Montclair
Cost: FREE!

Never been to the Montclair Jazz Festival?!? To see what it’s all about — check out the video below.

Baristanet is once again proud to be a media sponsor for the Montclair Jazz Festival. Come visit our tent at the festival — we would love to meet you.

Giveaway: Rock Reggae Bands, Pepper and Tribal Seeds, at Wellmont Theater

BY  |  Monday, Aug 07, 2017 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Popular alternative reggae rock groups, Pepper and Tribal Seeds, will co-headline a show on Saturday, August 26th at 6:30 p.m. at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair.

With over 500,000 records sold, Pepper will perform live on the heels of their latest release, Ohana. The band is known for songs like Fkarnd and No Control, which both placed on the top 20 “Alternative Songs” charts. Based in San Diego and known for songs like Rude Girl, rock-reggae band Tribal Seeds come at their music from a different angle, more influenced by bands like Steel Pulse and Aswad than the common touchstone of Sublime. Formed in 2005 by the Jacobo brothers, singer Steven and producer Tony-Ray, the group issued its debut album, Youth Rebellion, that same year. The album was the first of many to be released on the group’s own label, including a self-titled album in 2008 plus The Harvest from 2009. The Soundwaves EP followed in 2011, while 2014’s Representing cracked the Billboard 200 albums chart. The album featured guest appearances from Don Carlos, Mykal Rose, and Midnite’s Vaughn Benjamin.

Enter to win a pair of tickets to Pepper and Tribal Seeds below:

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Outpost in The Burbs Celebrates 30th Season, Anniversary Concert With Marc Cohn, Valerie June and Special Guest Ellis Paul, 10/20

BY  |  Friday, Aug 04, 2017 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Outpost in the Burbs will present a concert to mark its 30th Anniversary season, featuring a co-bill of Marc Cohn and Valerie June, with special guest Ellis Paul. The concert will take place on Friday, October 20th, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 40 South Fullerton Avenue. This concert will offer a variety of ticket options, including VIP seating which included an artist meet and greet after the show. Continue Reading

Help Montclair Make Music Day Make It To Detroit For Make Music Day Alliance Summit

BY  |  Wednesday, Aug 02, 2017 11:05am  |  COMMENTS (0)

This weekend Montclair Make Music Day’s Greg Pason, along with Claire Cohen and another volunteer, Josh Rodriguez, are traveling to Detroit for the Make Music Day Alliance Summit August 4-6. The event is a gathering of organizers from participating cities around the country to share ideas to make future Music Days even more successful.

If you enjoyed the free music all around Montclair on June 21st, or simply love music, help Montclair Make Music Day’s team cover some basic travel and lodging expenses for their trip. They are down to the wire and still short of their goal. Continue Reading

Montclair’s Own Pinegrove Plays Newport Folk Festival

BY  |  Tuesday, Aug 01, 2017 3:00pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

Montclair’s own Pinegrove was met with loud enthusiasm by an overflowing crowd at their Newport Folk Festival debut this weekend. There was already a buzz about Pinegrove, featured earlier this year on NPR Tiny Desk Concert, as many festival-goers had told me the band was on their “must-see” list for the day, as we waited on line in the morning before the gates opened at 10 a.m. Some were already big Pinegrove fans; others had heard about the band and were curious to check them out. Reviewing the previous day’s favorites and who you are most looking forward to seeing that day are the main topics of conversation while waiting on line at Newport. (That and, “I wish they sold coffee right here!”). Discovering new music is much of the beauty of Newport, for although the well-known acts and headliners attract big crowds at the main stage (this year’s headliners were Fleet Foxes, Wilco, and John Prine), finding a new band or artist is what many really look forward to.

Pinegrove’s members (mostly from Montclair) are (from left to right in photo): Josh Marre, Adan Carlo, Evan Stephens Hall, Zack Levine, Nandi Rose Plunkett, Sam Skinner.

Continue Reading

Montclair Jazz Festival is Back! Two Weeks Of Exciting Events Leading Up To Big Day

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 25, 2017 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair Jazz Festival is back and not only will you get to enjoy a fantastic day of jazz music, food and fun (beer garden, too!), but this year, there’s a two-week footprint of concerts and special events leading up to the big day — Saturday, Aug. 12, from noon to 9 p.m. in Nishuane Park.

There’s good news for last year’s festival attendees — Dee Dee Bridgewater, who was missed last year when heat lightning closed the festival down early, returns this year for the free “No Tickets Required” event.

Founder Melissa Walker announced the exciting lineup for this year’s festival at a kickoff party Thursday night. Right after directing the Newport Jazz Festival in early August, Montclair Jazz Festival Artistic Director, bassist Christian McBride, leads the stage action for the Montclair Jazz Festival with Mistress of Ceremonies, actor S. Epatha Merkerson; and WBGO’s Gary Walker. This year’s all-star headliners on the Bravitas Main Stage include the NEW Dee Dee Bridgewater & Memphis Soulphony; A Christian McBride Situation; and the Cyrus Chestnut Trio.

Jazz House Kids founder Melissa Walker announced the line-up for the 2017 Montclair Jazz Festival at kickoff party. Photo: Jazz House Kids

Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses will perform two rousing sets on the Family Jazz Discovery Zone Stage. The world-renowned jazz superstars share the spotlight with festival favorites the Ted Chubb Band, the Jazz House Collective, The Centennial Project and more than 200 multi-generational performers ranging in age from 12 to 70 in 10 award-winning JAZZ HOUSE KiDS student ensembles and vocal groups.


Thursday, July 27
• The Gallery at Hillside Square, in partnership with JAZZ HOUSE KiDS and the Montclair Jazz Festival, presents Jazz in Focus, an exhibit of three noted jazz photographers: Richard Conde, Patrick Hilaire and the late Ed Berger. The exhibit runs through October 27.

Friday, July 28
• Christian McBride spins Old School Funk + Soul at the hippest dance party of the summer. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Friends of the Festival get in free: www.montclairjazzfestival.org.@18 Label (8:00PM–12AM)

Saturday, August 5

• Jazz Across Montclair – select town merchants will donate a portion of their day’s proceeds to the Montclair Jazz Festival in recognition of JAZZ HOUSE KiDS’ contributions to the town. Jazz House student ensembles perform in seven locations (2:00 pm-10 pm) across town including Montclair’s Center Stage on Church Street. For more information and times, visit www.montclairjazzfestival.org.

July 31 – August 10

• Mid-Day Summer Concert + Symposium Series curated by festival artistic director Christian McBride and featuring special jazz guests alongside JAZZ HOUSE KiDS’ acclaimed faculty.

2:30-3:30 PM @Cali School of Music’s Leshowitz Hall at Montclair State U.
7/31 Jazz House Teaching Artists sponsored by Ronald McDonald House
Charities New York Tri-State Area
8/1 Jazz House Teaching Artists sponsored by City National Bank
8/2 Rachel Z + Christian McBride sponsored by Gia Maione Prima Foundation
8/3 Kenny Rampton sponsored by The Bravitas Group/The Silver Family Foundation
8/4 Jazz House Collective sponsored by the Wellmont Theater and MC Hotel
8/7 Jazz House Alumni sponsored by Arctic Glacier
8/8 Christian McBride Symposium sponsored by Montclair Fund for Women
8/9 Charles Tolliver + Billy Hart sponsored by North Coast Brewing Co.
8/10 Dee Dee Bridgewater + Christian McBride sponsored by Clara Maass Medical Center

The 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.


The Montclair Jazz Festival is a fun-filled day with entertainment for the entire family. The Family Jazz Discovery Zone Stage features performances by Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses, the Jazz House Adult Ensemble and Jazz House Alumni Ensemble. “Zone” activities, a collaboration among Jazz House Kids and partners Montclair Public Library and Montclair Art Museum, will feature a host of kid-friendly art activities for the younger set and their parents, including WEBOP®, a Jazz at Lincoln Center program; kid-friendly food vendors; and music-related story books read by festival headliners. www.montclairjazzfestival.org/#!family-jazz/cq53

Also returning to the festival is the popular Beer Garden, sponsored by North Coast Brewing Co., which donates 100% of the proceeds to support the JAZZ HOUSE KiDS Music + Education Fund.


Getting to the Montclair Jazz Festival has never been easier. The FREE Montclair Jazz Festival Shuttle will stop at several key parking points throughout Montclair and West Orange. An expanded bike valet sponsored by Diamond Cycle will offer free, convenient parking for those traveling by two wheels.

At the Park: Eats, Shopping and Activities

Jazz fans are invited to bring friends and family, lawn chairs, blankets, and picnic baskets. In addition to the North Coast Beer Garden and Family Jazz Discovery Zone, there will be food and artisan craft vendors in the historic, 17-acre park.

This year, festival attendees will be encouraged to visit the Front Line for the Arts tent (near the Jazz Discovery Zone) to pick up some information about the National Endowment for the Arts and the great works it helps fund. A collaborative effort of area artists, arts organizations, and arts supporters, including Jazz House Kids, the Montclair Art Museum, and Studio Montclair, its purpose is to show wide-spread support to Washington for keeping NEA funding at its current levels. NEA funding comprises a mere .012% of the overall budget and costs every American 46 cents per year. The NEA is a major sponsor of the Montclair Jazz Festival.

To volunteer, or for more information, visit www.montclairjazzfestival.org and the Montclair Jazz Festival Facebook page, email [email protected] or call 973-744-2273. For information about Jazz House Kids, visit www.jazzhousekids.org.

"All of Me" @jazz_house_kids #montclairjazzfestival launch

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FREE Outdoor Concert: Oscar Noriega Trio, Montclair Library, 7/25

BY  |  Wednesday, Jul 19, 2017 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Seed Artists and the Montclair Public library present a FREE outdoor concert of cutting-edge jazz and creative music from the Oscar Noriega Trio: three musical explorers taking jazz into the future. Led by Brooklyn-based Noriega (reeds), this all-star trio features alt-rock superbassist Trevor Dunn and Montclair’s own Pheeroan akLaff (drums).

Named Downbeat’s 2017 Rising Star on Clarinet, multi-instrumentalist and composer Oscar Noriega has performed with jazz giants such as Lee Konitz, Anthony Braxton, Dewey Redman and Paul Motian. Beyond his own projects—including Trio Hornitos and Banda de los Muertos–Noriega is a member of the renowned avant-jazz groups Endangered Blood and Tim Berne’s Snakeoil.

Bassist Trevor Dunn rose to fame as a member of the experimental rock band Mr. Bungle, and his impressive list of credits includes Fantômas and Tomahawk, heavy-metal heroes The Melvins, and more than 20 recordings with John Zorn.

Seed Artists founder Pheeroan akLaff became a major figure in the 1970s jazz avant garde, and has played with masters from Cecil Taylor, Sam Rivers and Andrew Hill to Pulitzer nominee Wadada Leo Smith and fellow Montclairians Oliver Lake and Andrew Cyrille. He has also led a Double Duo ensemble with saxophonists Ravi Coltrane and Mixashawn, leads percussion workshops around the world, and is a longtime instructor at Wesleyan University.

Kid-friendly, like every Seed Artists event. Grab some chairs, bring the kids, and make the most of your summer nights.

When: Tuesday, July 25th – 7pm
Where: Montclair Public Library plaza, 50 South Fullerton Avenue
Cost: Free

Old School Soul & Funk! DJ Brother Mister Dance Party to Kick Off Montclair Jazz Festival

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 11, 2017 3:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Get your tickets for the first annual DJ BROTHER MISTER DANCE PARTY on Friday, July 28th!

DJ Brother Mister, the alter ego of American jazz bassist virtuoso, Christian McBride, spins old-school soul and funk for a night of movin’ and groovin’ to kick off the Montclair Jazz Festival!

Friday, July 28, 8 p.m. 18 Label Street, Montclair. $15 advance; $20 at the door; age 21 and up. Cash bar and nosh. Get into the party for free by becoming a Friend of the Festival.

Giveaway: Classic Albums Live at The Wellmont Theater

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 11, 2017 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Calling all Jimi Hendrix fans! Win tickets to Classic Albums Live at the Wellmont Theater, on Thursday, July 20, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix “Are You Experienced.” Continue Reading

Giveaway! The Wallflowers and Better Than Ezra at The Wellmont Theater

BY  |  Friday, Jun 23, 2017 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

The Wallflowers and Better Than Ezra are coming to the Wellmont Theater on Saturday, July 8, at 7 p.m.

The Wallflowers is a roots rock band headed by Jakob Dylan, son of Bob Dylan. Rock to their hit songs “6th Avenue Heartache,” “One Headlight” and “The Difference.”

Better Than Ezra is an alternative rock trio based out of New Orleans; you’ll recognize their hit singles “Good” and “Breathless.”

Don’t miss these quintessential 90s rock bands play their hits as well as some unexpected covers. One lucky Baristanet reader can win a pair of tickets — you need to enter by clicking the box below. Continue Reading

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