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Fall preview of jazz festivals in the area and beyond

Christian McBride at Montclair Jazz Festival
c/o Montclair Jazz Festival
Christian McBride performing at the Montclair Jazz Festival

For some reason, the fall has become the favored time of year for jazz festivals both in this region and nationwide. As one colleague at WBGO said, September has replaced June, which used to be the most crowded month for jazz festivals. In some cases, events were shifted from earlier in the year because of the onset of the pandemic, with many of them deciding to stick with the fall season in the ensuing years. Regardless, here’s a rundown of the jazz festivals happening during the fall across the country. (Listed in chronological order.)

Back in the Swing Jazz Festival (Old Lyme, CT)
September 9-10
Lineup: Joey Alexander Trio; Kenny Garrett & Sounds From the Ancestors; Katie Thiroux Trio featuring Melissa Aldana; Jonathan Barber’s Vision Ahead Quintet; Sean Nelson’s New London Big Band; others

Central Jersey Jazz Festival (Flemington, New Brunswick, Somerville and Metuchen, NJ)
September 9-11
Lineup: Marion Cowings featuring AC Lincoln; Cyrus Chestnut; Bobby Sanabria & Ascension; Lezlie Harrison; Lucy Yeghiazaryan; others

Montclair Jazz Festival (Montclair, NJ)
September 10
Lineup: Christian McBride; Artemis; Monty Alexander; Matthew Whitaker; Danielle Ponder; Immanuel Wilkins; The Cookers; Ozmosys; others

JazzFest White Plains (White Plains, NY)
September 14-18
Lineup: Joey Alexander Trio; Buster Williams Quartet; Grace Kelly; Ragan Whiteside; Miki Hayama & Richie Goods; Albert Rivera Quintet; others

Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival (Pittsburgh, PA)
September 16-18
Lineup: Ron Carter Foursight; Stanley Clarke N 4ever; Incognito featuring Maysa Leak; Average White Band; Buster Williams & Something More; Vanisha Gould; Samara Joy; others

Atlantic City Jazz Festival (Atlantic City, NJ)
September 17
Lineup: Brian Culbertson; Jazmin Ghent; Althea Rene; Jeff Bradshaw; Najee

Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival (Morristown, NJ)
September 17
Lineup: Bria Skonberg; Frank Vignola; Veronica Lewis; Walter Trout Band; James Langton’s New York All-Star Big Band

Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey, CA)
September 23-25
Lineup: Ranky Tanky; Ravi Coltrane; Artemis; Gregory Porter; Christian Sands; Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour; Julian Lage; Brandee Younger; others

Exit Zero Jazz Festival (Cape May, NJ)
September 29 – October 2
Lineup: Gregory Porter; Angelique Kidjo; Jose James; The Baylor Project; Christian Sands; Orrin Evans; Stacy Kent; Joshua Redman; others

Earshot Jazz Festival (Seattle, WA)
October 8 – November 6
Lineup: Charles Lloyd; Marquis Hill; Kurt Rosenwinkel; Dan Wilson; Anat Cohen; Kat Edmondson; others

BRIC Jazz Festival (Brooklyn, NY)
October 20-22
Lineup: Lizz Wright; Joel Ross; Freelance; Jose James; DOMI & JD Beck; Theon Cross; Matthew Whitaker; others

Angel City Jazz Festival (Los Angeles, CA)
October 21-23
Lineup: Luciana Souza & Vince Mendoza; Marquis Hill; John Escreet’s Seismic Shift; David Murray Trio; Jonathan Pinson’s Boom Clap; Battle Trance; others

James Moody Jazz Festival (Newark, NJ)
November 8-20
Lineup: Maria Schneider; Christian McBride, Fantasia; Jazzmeia Horn; Dee Dee Bridgewater & Savion Glover; Yellowjackets; others

For over 27 years, Lee Mergner served as an editor and publisher of JazzTimes until his resignation in January 2018. Thereafter, Mergner continued to regularly contribute features, profiles and interviews to the publication as a contributing editor for the next 4+ years. JazzTimes, which has won numerous ASCAP-Deems Taylor awards for music journalism, was founded in 1970 and was described by the All Music Guide, as “arguably the finest jazz magazine in the world.”