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Montclair Jazz Fest Announces Lineup for Downtown Jamboree on Sept. 25

Christian Wissmuller • News • September 11, 2021
On the heels of a magical summer series of evening concerts in July and all-day swinging block parties in August attended by thousands of music fans, the Montclair Jazz Fest Grand Finale features the Downtown Jamboree, a jam-packed exciting full day of free inspiring live music and activities on Saturday, September 25, 1:00 PM – 9:00 PM, preceded by two nights of special events on September 22 and 23.
Presented by BDP Holdings, LLC and Montclair Center BID, the festival will feature internationally acclaimed headliners, regional favorites and emerging talent on four stages spanning an all-pedestrian Bloomfield Avenue, the main artery of downtown Montclair, from Lackawanna Plaza to South Park. The nearly half-mile long jazz playground will feature more than 100 artisan food and craft vendors from across the town and region and a Family Jazz Discovery Zone with partners Montclair Art Museum, Montclair Public Library and the YMCA of Montclair.
Produced by JAZZ HOUSE KiDS, one of the nation’s foremost jazz education organizations for young people with its Artistic Director and festival curator, 7-time GRAMMY Award-winning bassist Christian McBride, the festival celebrates the vibrant and diverse town of Montclair and its many music fans. Winner of three consecutive “People’s Choice Awards” for Favorite Music Festival, the Montclair Jazz Fest presents a diverse range of styles, ages, and talent featuring gospel, soul, Latin and traditional jazz.
The Grand Finale showcases powerhouse jazz vocalists and instrumentalists delivering dynamic live performances and much more. Headliners include:
  • Christian McBride All-Stars featuring Mike Stern + Chris Potter
  • The Baylor Project
  • Alicia Olatuja
  • Billy Hart Quartet
  • Zaccai Curtis Afro-Cuban Quintet playing Cubop (Cuban bebop)
  • Camille Thurman Quintet
  • Rudresh Mahanthappa “Hero Trio” featuring Gene Lake
  • Emmet Cohen Trio
  • JAZZ HOUSE Collective in tribute to Roy Hargrove
  • Danielle Ponder (performing at the Blue in Green on Thursday)
  • JAZZ HOUSE All-Star Alumni Ensembles
One of the highlights each year at the Montclair Jazz Fest is finding out which incredible artists Christian McBride will put together for his set. This year, McBride’s All-Star Band will feature heralded saxophonist Chris Potter and one of the greatest contemporary jazz guitarists of his time, Mike Stern.  Earlier this year, Christian teamed up with his label Mack Avenue Records and with hi-res streaming and download service QoBuz for a special recording called with Q Sessions. “For the date I put together a special group featuring one of my favorite guitarists of all time, Mike Stern,” explained McBride. “It was such a great day in the studio that I wanted to bring that to the festival and have invited another amazing artist and good friend, Chris Potter to join us…I can’t wait!”
JAZZ HOUSE KiDS mission in action and its commitment to fostering the next generation of jazz musicians will be on full display on Montclair Jazz Fest street stages which will feature ensembles led by talented JAZZ HOUSE alumni. Since its inception18 years ago, the award-winning nonprofit, which taps into America’s original art form to transform lives, has invested $13.5 million in year-round jazz education, mentoring and leadership programs that bridge the gap in the arts. Opening doors and possibilities for thousands of students aged 8-18 each year, the organization works in under-resourced schools, leads after-school programs in the JAZZ HOUSE studios in Montclair, NJ and presents community programming. The JAZZ HOUSE legacy grows with the long list of young talented musicians who got their start at the JAZZ HOUSE making a name for themselves on the jazz scene today — Matthew Whitaker, Julian Lee, Immanuel Wilkins, Coleman Hughes, Zoe Obadia, Isaiah Thompson to name a few.
According to Melissa Walker, founder + president of JAZZ HOUSE KiDS and the creator of the Montclair Jazz Festival, the opportunity to expand partnerships and work with the Montclair Township and Essex County officials to close Bloomfield Avenue for the Downtown Jamboree was an important move, coming out of an unprecedented year of hardship for many local businesses and individuals.
“With the right ingredients, we knew the Montclair Jazz Fest could be a powerful tool to help bring our community come back together again. By expanding the festival offering over three months, from July to September, allowed us to stretch out and put a lot of musicians to work to thrill our fans and help boost local business,” said Melissa Walker. “The Montclair Jazz Fest embodies so much that is wonderful about our cherished Montclair community — resiliency, access, inclusion, diversity, multi-generational engagement, mentorship, youth development and public-private partnerships.”
“The Downtown Jamboree in September will build on this community spirit for a mega day of coming together with a shared passion for arts and music — one of the many things that makes Montclair a destination town for people all over the region,” she said.
Leading up to the Downtown Jamboree on Saturday, the festival will host a “Jazz Goes to the Movies” film screening on Wednesday, September 22 and “Blue in Green: Cocktails and a Concert in the Garden,” a gala featuring vocalist Danielle Ponder on Thursday, September 23. For the latest information about line up and schedules, visit the Montclair Jazz Fest website.
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