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NJPAC announces schedule for TD James Moody Jazz Festival

Gladys Knight
Gladys Knight with Davell Crawford (inset)

The New Jersey Performing Art Center (NJPAC) has announced the schedule and lineup for the 12th annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival that runs from November 3-19 at various sites in Newark, N.J. The festival’s programming includes a cross-section of jazz and related genres aimed at a very diverse audience. Vocalists of all stripes are well represented throughout the festival with headliners such as Dee Dee Bridgewater (with Bill Charlap), Lisa Fischer (with Ranky Tanky), Omara Portundo, Gladys Knight (with Davell Crawford), Take 6 (with Hilary-Marie) and the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. There are numerous themed events including tributes to Dave Grusin and the music of Disney, as well as a concert reimagining The Sound of Music as The Sound of (Black) Music.

"Like hip hop, jazz is a music that's in constant evolution, continually integrating with other musical forms — Latin music, blues, musical theater — and incorporating them into new sounds," says John Schreiber, NJPAC's President and CEO, in a press release received by WBGO. "This year's TD James Moody Jazz Festival celebrates all the different ways that jazz has reinvented itself, and reimagined songs and styles from many different genres."

Christian McBride, NJPAC’s Jazz Advisor, who helped curate the festival program, says that the festival’s diversity of genres and artists has a real purpose. "Probably my favorite quote about performing is from Cannonball Adderley: 'I give the audience 50% of what they want to hear, and 50% of what I think they need to hear,'" he explains. "As an artist, I think that's a smart balance -- and it's part of how we approach the TD James Moody Festival lineup. Whatever your favorite kind of music is, you'll hear it at some point in this festival -- but you'll also hear variations on it, new approaches, maybe a take you hadn't considered before. We're always going to play the music you love, but we're going to offer you a little something more, a new sound, a new artist to get excited about."

A schedule of events is below. More details about the festival can be found at NJPAC’s website.

Schedule of events:

Friday, November 3 @ 7:30 p.m.
Dee Dee Bridgewater & Bill Charlap
NJPAC’s Victoria Theater

Saturday, November 4 @ 3:00 p.m.
WBGO Kid’s Concert Series / Elio Villafranca Quartet presents “Standing by The Crossroads”
NJPAC’s Victoria Theater

Saturday, November 4 @ 8:00 p.m.
Grupo Niche & Héctor Acosta "El Torito" Tropicaliente
NJPAC’s Prudential Hall

Thursday, November 9 @ 7:30 p.m.
Ranky Tanky with special guest Ms. Lisa Fischer
NJPAC’s Victoria Theater

Friday, November 10 @ 7:30 p.m.
Omara Portuondo
NJPAC’s Victoria Theater

Saturday, November 11 @ 7:30 p.m.
Take 6 with special guest Hillary-Marie
Victoria Theater

Sunday, November 12 @ 3:00 p.m.
Abdullah Ibrahim Trio
NJPAC’s Victoria Theater

Sunday, November 12 @ 7:00 p.m.
Gladys Knight with Davell Crawford
NJPAC’s Prudential Hall

Wednesday, November 15 @ 7:00 p.m.
Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues
Newark Museum of Art

Thursday, November 16 @ 7:00 p.m.
Jazz Jams
Clement’s Place

Thursday, November 16 @ 7:30 p.m.
The Sound of (Black) Music
NJPAC’s Victoria Theater

Friday, November 17 @ 7:00 p.m.
NJMEA / All State Jazz Band and Choir with special guest Stefon Harris
NJPAC’s Chase Room

Friday, November 17 @ 7:30 p.m.
When You Wish Upon a Star – A Jazz Tribute to 100 Years of Disney
NJPAC’s Victoria Theater

Friday, November 17 @ 8:00 p.m.
Dave Grusin: A Life in Music featuring Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour, Will Downing, Randy Brecker, and the New York Voices
NJPAC’s Prudential Hall

Saturday, November 18 @ 6:00 p.m.
Cyrus Chestnut
Bethany Baptist Church

Sunday, November 19 @ 11:00 a.m. + 1:00 p.m.
Dorthaan’s Place: The Steve Turre Generations Sextet

Sunday, November 19 @ 3:00 p.m.
12th Annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition NJPAC’s Victoria Theater

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.”