Newark Museum releases schedule for 50th annual Jazz in the Garden summertime outdoor concerts

One of the nation’s longest running jazz festivals, Jazz in the Garden, began in 1965 as a way for residents and workers in New Jersey’s largest city to enjoy the Museum’s Alice Ransom Dreyfuss Garden, providing another cultural experience for the community in the warm weather months. Its popularity now extends as far as South Jersey to Long Island. The series has included both local musicians as well as international stars. Some of the notables who have performed are Jimmy Guiffre, Houston Person and Etta James, Ron Carter, Cedar Walton, David Murray and Lou Donaldson.

The season kicks off with an evening performance by Grammy and Tony Award winner Dee Dee Bridgewater on Friday, June 19 from 6:30-9 pm. A winner of three Grammy Awards and a Tony award, Bridgewater is widely recognized as one of the greatest female jazz vocalists performing today. Featured with her will be trumpeter Theo Croker, grandson of the legendary Doc Cheatham. Tickets are $25 for Newark Museum members and $35 for non-members. To order, call 973.596.6613.

The 2015 concert series will continue on five consecutive Thursdays, rain or shine, July 2 through August 6, from 12:15-1:45 p.m.

The schedule is as follows:

July 2 : Gary Bartz, Saxophonist (Quartet)

This Grammy award winner has worked and recorded with the likes of McCoy Tyner, Max Roach/Abbey Lincoln and Miles Davis; and he has more than 40 solo albums. His follow up release to Volume I of the Coltrane Files: Toa of a Music Warrior will be released in 2015.

July 9 : Akiko, Organist (Trio)

Akiko has been a mainstay on the New York jazz scene since arriving from Japan in 2001.  She can be seen around town as a leader or sideman with musicians such as Lou Donaldson, Jimmy Cobb and Eric Alexander. Her fourth and latest U.S. recording, Commencement (AT Records), features John Hart and Jeff Hamilton.

July 16: David Gibson, Trombonist (Quintet)

Following the path of great trombonists such as Curtis Fuller and Slide Hampton, Gibson, with his sonorous trombone, has enjoyed a career deeply rooted in both Jazz and Funk music. His newest recording, BOOM! (Positone ), marks a return to the traditional jazz quintet structure and features a notable band of young players, Josh Evans, Theo Hill, Alex Claffy, Kush Abadey.

July 23: Cocomama (Latin Jazz Octet)

This New York City based group features women from Mexico, Cuba, Israel, France, Argentina, Oregon and Wisconsin.  Formed in 2008 by the percussionist Mayra Casales – who has worked with Regina Carter and Carmen Lundy – they are heavily influenced by the musical traditions of Cuba, Brazil, South and North America. Cocomama released its debut recording Quiero (Truth Revolution Records)in 2015.

July 30: Jose James, Vocalist (Quartet)

A Minneapolis native who studied at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City, James’ newest release isYesterday I Had The Blues: The Music of Billie Holiday (Blue Note). The recording features pianist Jason Moran, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Eric Harland, and is a tribute to the legendary singer in honor of her 100th birthday.

August 6: Eric Reed, Pianist (Trio)

Born in Philadelphia, PA and raised in Los Angeles, Reed will be celebrating “The Songbook of Newark Icons.” His latest recording on Smoke Sessions label, Groovewise (Smoke Sessions), demonstrates why he is at the forefront of Jazz. Joining Reed will be David Baron on bass and Aaron Kimmel on drums.

Jazz in the Garden will conclude the 2015 season on August 14 at 6 pm with a panel discussion and jam session. Barbara Kukla, Vincent Pelote and Guy Sterling will discuss “50 years of Jazz in Newark,” followed by a jam session lead by vocalist Cynthia Holiday.

Jazz in the Garden is co-hosted by the Newark Museum Business and Community Council.  United is the Official Airline; and Jazz 88.3FM, WBGO and the Star-Ledger are the media sponsors.

Admission to Jazz in the Garden is $3 for general admission; and free to children and Museum members. Lunch is available for purchase, but brown-baggers are welcome.

For additional information, follow the Museum on Facebook at or Twitter at; or visit

Featured image courtesy

Shavar Jeffries announces scholarship in memory of his mother

Former Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries has started a higher education scholarship for students in Essex County in honor of his late mother, Donna Johnson.

Johnson was a victim of domestic violence and was killed by her husband after she sought to flee from his abuse. She is survived by her two children and “through a legacy of love and service that she imparted to any who met her,” Jeffries said on his website.

Jeffries established the Donna Johnson Memorial Scholarship to support the educational development of a young person who has experienced the loss of a parent, guardian, or a loved one because of domestic violence, or whose life has otherwise been touched by violence against women.

As a witness to and survivor of domestic violence, Jeffries said his opportunity for an education was life-changing, and the scholarship seeks to ensure that other young people have the same opportunity.

The applicants must be a high school senior or recent graduate entering college in the Fall of 2015, with a GPA of 2.5 or better, and documentation proving admission to an institute of higher education.

Ideal candidates should exhibit passion around community service, ideally within the domestic violence arena though documented volunteerism efforts. They must also submit an essay describing how they overcame challenges presented as a result of their experience with domestic violence.

Scholarship awards will be sent directly to the winner’s college to help cover tuition or associated costs. The deadline to apply is June 1 and applications can be filled out online.

Featured image courtesy of Shavar Jeffries

Ironbound Soccer Club will hold youth tryouts next week

The Ironbound Soccer Club will hold tryouts for participation in its competitive soccer programs for the Fall of 2015 and Spring 2016 seasons. The club is looking for boys and girls ages 6 to 19-years-old to join.

Ironbound Soccer Club is a year round player development program that provides training and a competitive environment for youth, now in partnership with the New York Red Bulls (who play next door in Harrison, NJ). The club aims to help players achieve their maximum potential through training.

Tryouts will take place on Wednesday, May 20 through Thursday, May 21. Children between the age of 6 and 13 will tryout at 6 p.m., and children over the age of 13 will try out at 7:30 p.m.

Participants should arrive 15 minutes prior for registration, and wear a white t-shirt, shorts, socks and shin guards. Tryouts will be held at Riverbank Park, located at 27 Somme St. in Newark.

Featured image via Creative Commons


Author Benilde Little to speak at New Jersey Performing Arts Center

The Women’s Association of NJPAC will be hosting an evening of conversation with best selling author Benilde Little on Wednesday, May 20 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

The night will feature an interview with Little, whose groundbreaking fiction challenges entrenched stereotypes of African Americans. Little is known for being among the first authors to put on the page intelligent, edgy stories about class and relationships among contemporary African American men and women.

Little is the author of books such as “Good Hair,” “The Itch,” “Acting Out,” and “Who Does She Think She Is?” The event will also discuss the author’s life and her new memoir “Welcome to my Breakdown.”

A book signing will immediately follow the conversation, and books will be available for purchase at the event.

The free event starts at 7 p.m., but reservations are required as space is limited. Guests will not be admitted without a reservation. You must register online by May 15.

Oliver Lake and his Big Band to perform at Aljira

Heralded saxophonist, composer and bandleader Oliver Lake will perform with his Big Band on Sunday, May 17, at Aljira in Newark.

Oliver Lake and his Big Band are performing in celebration of the contemporary art center’s 30th anniversary.

For the past decade, Oliver Lake has been creating music with his Big Band, and they recently released their sophomore album “Wheels.”

Lake has composed works for Pro Musica Chamber and the Brooklyn Philharmonic and arranged for Bjork, Lou Reed and A Tribe Called Quest. He has shared the stage with Me’shell Ndegeocello and Mos Def, and collaborated with poet Amiri Baraka. He has also led several of his own groups.

In 2014, Lake received the prestigious Doris Duke Artist Award, a multi-year grant awarded to only 19 American artists in the fields of jazz, theater and dance.

The performance is open to the public and will run from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Aljira is located at 591 Broad St. in Newark.

Featured image courtesy of Aljira

Mayor Ras Baraka calls on Newark men to ‘hold court’ with him on city blocks

Mayor Ras Baraka posted a message to neighborhood social network NextDoor this morning, addressing violence in the city and asking Newarkers – and specifically men – to help take back the city. It reads in full:

Good morning. I hope that everyone has begun their day in great spirits and even better thoughts. There are tens and thousands of people that depend on our productivity daily. I am writing this morning because for the past few evenings it has been difficult for me to sleep given the amount of chaos that is taking place in our streets. My heart goes out to the families that have lost loved ones in these senseless and depraved acts of violence. We are strategizing and working around the clock to find remedy for this spike in violence. Our police department has been working feverishly and in the first quarter has brought the homicide rate down 40 percent and overall crime down significantly as well, but one life lost is too many and any victim is one victim too much. As many of you already know that as I am writing this we have over 50 new Police recruits in the Academy, and we are going to put 100 more in before the year is out. We have just received 1.5 million dollars to add over 1,000 more jobs for young people this summer. We will continue with a full Summer Fun schedule in our most difficult neighborhoods. We just brought on 15 members of our new Community Street Team that will be working in the South and West wards to mitigate conflict, mentor youth, engage our young people and drive the violence down. We are working with President Obama with My Brother’s Keeper and are recruiting hundreds of young men and boys in our city to begin transforming their lives by providing them better pathways to education, employment, and self-esteem. Director Venable will also begin his community walks this Friday and with the help of the Clergy and anyone that is interested will be walking in neighborhoods talking to residents and abating issues. These walks were highly successful last summer and will begin again on Friday. We need you to get involved wherever you can and will. We had scheduled most of these things to really begin around memorial day but we can’t afford to wait lives depend on our acting now!

Weeks ago before these recent shootings I thought about “Occupy the Hood” that was being done in many cities around the country and I thought how would that look in Newark. Last night it came to me and I am bringing it to you this morning. I am going to take at least three days a week to implement Occupy the Block in Newark. I will pick the blocks and the days everyMonday and will call on every able bodied and willing Man in this city to come with me to a specific block. We will hold court on this block. We will have an open discussion about our city, young people and violence. We will also bring out our folding chairs and tables and play chess and cards outside on the blocks where they usually hang out and get in to trouble. We will take those blocks for a few hours. We will shut down the illegal trade at that time, and transform that block while we are there. I am asking every man that can to stand up and get involved. This does not mean that the ladies cannot and should not get involved, but this challenge is for the men. Every event we have is mostly populated, worked on and made successful by the women and I am more than confident that they will be present. It’s time for the men to get in these streets. This Thursday (tomorrow) at 4:30pm we will occupy Clinton Ave and Chadwick. Saturday at the same time 430pm we will Occupy Chancellor and Schley. Let’s show up and show out. Bring your chairs and tables. I know some of us are better at complaining or wallowing in pessimism and hopelessness. But I don’t have the luxury of defeat or cynicism. My heart is driven by hope and my action by faith. I know that all we need to do is take that extra step forward and choose to be a part of the solution and not perpetuate the problem. I need you to invite as many people as you can. Put this call out on social media. Allow this to be what trends and not gossip and celebrities and negativity. Let’s get our city up and make Newark Rise! This movement begins with you.

As you can imagine that last few days have been stressful for me to say the least and has made me reflect on many things from the encouragement of friends, the determination of supporters, and even the vitriolic words of haters. I am rightly prepared to carry this burden and am not shying away from it. This moment belongs to me the good and bad. I know there will be people that will use these difficult moments to try to divide and destroy what we are building but I am confident that this wall will go up and we will stand on it together! Newark is our home. We can’t give it away to naysayers or those that wish to watch it crumble, or even the misguided that think destroying our city and its families is what makes them Newark. WE are Newark all of us. Newark 3.0- A new Newark- A city we must believe in! I need your help. Thursday is the day it begins. Godspeed to all of you.

In service
Mayor Baraka

Newark Museum to host annual benefit tea luncheon

The Newark Museum will hold their 24th annual Museum Tea, which benefits the museum’s exhibitions and education programs, onTuesday, May 19, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The keynote speaker of the tea will be Amy Herman, an art historian, lawyer and educator who uses art to offer insights on perception and communication. She has been featured on CBS News and the BBC, and her clients include the FBI, the Secret Service and NYU Medical School.

Following a sparkling wine reception, a luncheon will be served in the museum’s Engelhard Court. The exhibition “Royals and Regalia: Inside the Palaces of Nigeria’s Monarchs’ will provide a visual backdrop to the tea.

After lunch, participants will have the opportunity to take a tour of the exhibition, which presents life-size portraits of regional royalty of modern-day monarchies taken by Nigerian photographer George Osodi.

Regular tickets are $90, with additional sponsorship levels available. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 973-569-6637. The museum is located at 49 Washington Street in Newark.

Featured image courtesy of the Newark Museum. 

A look inside Rutgers dental school’s children’s dental care program

The Rutgers School of Dental Medicine offers free exams and sealants for children in Newark and the surrounding area through a number of partner schools, a program they’re looking to extend to more schools in Newark and Essex County in the future.

“For children who often lack access to regular dental visits, preventative measures like sealants can play a critical role in keeping them cavity free,” said dental school Dean Cecile A. Feldman.

Made of clear plastic-based materials, sealants prevent decay by covering grooves and pits in the tooth surface, where most cavities are formed.

The Rutgers School of Dental Medicine’s pediatric clinic in Newark receives more than 10,000 visits a year, making it New Jersey’s largest provider for children. The clinic is particularly helpful for its patients who are on Medicaid, which many dentists do not accept.

“We specialize in providing care to individuals who are unable to access care elsewhere due to financial status, disability or specialized need,” Feldman said.

For some children, programs like the sealant initiative mark their first visit to the dentist.

Kids with serious oral health problems can have difficulty eating, sleeping and concentrating in school. Tooth decay, one of the most widespread chronic diseases in the United States, affects 42 percent of all children, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

The program is funded with a grant from Oral Health America, an organization that helps increase access to oral healthcare, especially among the underserved.

Faculty and students also go overseas to help children in nations like Haiti and Bangladesh.

The donation of sealants and money to provide transportation for students in the school is part of Oral Health America’s Smiles Across America campaign, which has sealed the teeth of more than 1 million children since it began in 2004, and is working to reach 2 million by 2020.

To become a patient at the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, you can call 973-972-4620 for children, and 973-972-7370 for adults. More information on cavity-fighting program procedures and patient enrollment can be found online.

Featured Image by John Emerson via Rutgers School of Dental Medicine

The Citizens Campaign seeks Civic Trustees for Newark

The application period is open for Newark residents interested in becoming Civic Trustees for the Citizens Campaign. Trustees will work together to identify and adopt solutions for problems facing the city.

The Citizens Campaign is a community of problem solvers dedicated to empowering citizens through civic leadership training in innovative problem solving and implementation.

Civic Trustees will gather at monthly ‘Solutions Sessions’ to conduct evidence-based research for Newark, drawing on ideas that have succeeded in other cities.

“This is an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of creating a new and powerful civic force to take on the tough challenges that Newark faces. It gives interested and committed citizens a way to use their own skills, talents and ideas to forge and advance solutions, all aimed at bringing about a better Newark, without having to run for office” said Citizens Campaign chair Harry Pozycki.

Civic Trustees and the Newark Civic Trust will receive significant support from the Citizens Campaign’s government lawyers, urban policy experts and experienced political coaches.

Newark was selected as the first city to follow pilot programs in Trenton and Perth Amboy, according to The Citizens Campaign, because of the impressive number of committed and effective citizen leaders that are working to improve Newark in a variety of different ways.

The meetings are from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., during which dinner is served with no charge. There are no meetings in August due to vacation time and none in December due to the holidays.

The Citizens Campaign is accepting applications for Newark Civic Trustees on a rolling basis until Monday, May 18, 2015. Applications may be filled out online.

Featured image courtesy of The Citizens Campaign

Riverbank Park to hold music and art event this weekend

Riverbank Park is hosting a “Music and Art in the Park” event on Saturday, May 9, featuring performances, artistic activities and food.

A youth art exhibit and free arts and crafts activities will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Musical entertainment featuring student and cultural performers will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The event is sponsored by Sparks Friends of Riverbank Park in cooperation with Newark Public Schools, Essex County Parks Department, Ironbound Community Corporation, and Councilman Amador.

This program was made possible in part by funds from PNC Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/ Department of State, A Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

Riverbank Park is located at 27 Somme St. in Newark.

Featured image by via Creative Commons.