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Lineup for NJPAC’s free Bethany Jazz Vespers Concert Series announced

Sullivan Fortner performing at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival
David Kaufman
Sullivan Fortner performing at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival

The Bethany Jazz Vespers Concert Series, now in its 24th year, has announced the lineup for the first half of 2024.  The free concerts are held on the first Saturday of each month at 6 pm ET at the Bethany Baptist Church in Newark, N.J.  The series was founded and is programmed by NEA Jazz Master and former WBGO staffer Dorthaan Kirk. For the last few years, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) has partnered to be a co-presenter of the series.  Among past performers in the Jazz Vespers at Bethany Baptist are Junior Mance, Cyrus Chestnut, Jimmy Heath, Earl May, Lizz Wright, David ‘Fathead’ Newman, Mulgrew Miller, Slide Hampton, Sonny Fortune, Houston Person, and Geri Allen. Artists appearing in the upcoming season include Bill Charlap, Sullivan Fortner, Camille Thurman, Tyreek McDole and Matthew Whitaker.  See the schedule below.

Schedule of concerts:

Saturday, February 3: Bill Charlap Trio
Bill Charlap – piano
Noriko Uesa – bass
Dennis Mackrel – drums

Saturday, March 2: Sullivan Fortner
Sullivan Fortner – piano

Saturday, April 6: Camille Thurman with the Darrell Green Quartet
Camille Thurman – tenor saxophone + vocals
Darrell Green – drums
TBA – band

Saturday, May 4: Tyreek McDole Quintet
Tyreek McDole – vocals
TBA – tenor saxophone
TBA – bass
TBA – piano
TBA – drums

Saturday, June 1: Matthew Whitaker
Matthew Whitaker – piano

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.”