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.
Featured image courtesy NewarkMuseum.org