FREE JAZZ JAM SESSIONS ARE BACK!
FREE JAZZ JAM SESSIONS ARE BACK!
Popular series hosted by New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Department of Community Engagement returns this summer to venues in and around Newark.
(NEWARK, NJ – July 29, 2015) New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) announces the second season of Jazz Jam Sessions, a five-part series of performances featuring some of New Jersey’s finest jazz musicians, under the direction of pianist and bandleader James Austin, Jr.
The sessions, which will begin on Aug. 9 and conclude on Nov. 13, are a hit with new jazz listeners as well as cognoscenti, and enhance NJPAC’s role as the state’s principal, year-round presenter of jazz.
NJPAC’s fourth annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival, an extraordinary gathering of the most distinguished names in jazz, takes place from Nov. 7-15. A performance by Tony Bennett on Nov. 13 as part of that festival will be followed by a Jazz Jam Session in NJPAC’s NICO Kitchen + Bar.
At the sessions, Austin leads quartets composed of New Jersey musicians and two guest performers affiliated with Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens and the Brick City Jazz Orchestra, acclaimed jazz programs of NJPAC’s Department of Arts Education. The Jazz Jam Sessions offer valuable, live performance experience to these NJPAC jazz faculty members and alumni – as well as musicians who drop by to jam – and often help the artists fulfill performance curriculum requirements for jazz studies.
“One of the most exciting aspects of our participation last season during the TD James Moody Jazz Festival was a very strong representation of jazz students from local colleges and musicians from the community, who lined up with their instruments to jam with us,” said Austin. “We’re looking forward to having the same experience this year.”
The schedule for Jazz Jam Sessions with the James Austin, Jr. Quartet follows:
Sunday, Aug. 9 at noon
Summer Afternoon of Jazz music festival, rain or shine, Bergen Community College, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus, NJ. General admission: $30. For tickets, call (201) 879-7732. Special guests: bassists Marcus Miller and Liany Mateo
Wednesday, Aug. 26 from 7 to 10 p.m.
Duke’s Southern Table, 11 Clinton St., Newark, NJ. Free admission. Special guests: singers Jackie Jones and Makyra Harden
Friday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m.
Suite 53, 53 Edison Place, Level 2, Newark, NJ. Cover charge: $10. Special guests TBA.
Thursday, Oct. 22 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
The Gateway Project, 2 Gateway Center, Newark, NJ. Special guests TBA. Free admission.
Friday, Nov. 13 at 10 p.m.
NICO Kitchen + Bar at NJPAC, One Center Street, Newark, NJ. Special guests TBA. Free admission.
The Jazz Jam Sessions are produced under the advice and guidance of NJPAC’s Jazz Advisory Committee, one of seven citizens’ groups that comprise the NJPAC Advisory Council; the others are Faith-Based, Corporate, Elders, Latino, Celebrate Dance, and Pride (LGBQT). The volunteers of the Advisory Council provide insightful feedback on the cultural tastes of New Jersey’s diverse communities and inform programming choices for NJPAC and the year-old Department of Community Engagement.
“We are delighted to have the support of James Austin Jr. and the Jazz Advisory Committee. They are truly a rich resource for promoting jazz in our various communities,” said Donna Walker-Kuhne, NJPAC’s Vice President of Community Engagement. “We are dedicated to supporting Newark’s entertainment venues as much as possible. The Jazz Jam Sessions will provide an opportunity to hear great music in a unique and culturally rich environment.”
About James Austin, Jr.
James Austin, Jr., a member of NJPAC’s Jazz Advisory Committee, is an accomplished pianist, keyboardist, producer and bandleader with broad experience in the music industry. A native of Chicago, Austin has worked with many renowned artists and musicians across numerous genres and in diverse settings throughout the world. Austin has received numerous accolades and awards, including the honor of being selected as a semifinalist in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano competition. He has honed his craft under the tutelage of a number of legendary musicians, including extensive study with Barry Harris, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest jazz educators. Austin’s professional experience includes work as a keyboardist and musical director for several high-profile theatrical productions, churches, corporate events and live concerts. From time to time, he worked in the band of legendary musical director Ray Chew. In recent years, Austin’s keyboard work has been featured onstage along such artists as Brian McKnight, Lalah Hathaway, Michael Bolton, Michelle Williams, BeBe Winans, Kim Burrell and Beverly Crawford. His musical accompaniment has also been showcased on numerous live telecasts and taped episodes, including the NAACP Image Awards, The Dr. Oz Show and Styled by June.
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States and is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey – where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state’s and the world’s best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted more than 9 million visitors (including over 1.5 million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. Visit www.njpac.org or call 888.GO.NJPAC for more information.
About Community Engagement at NJPAC
The Department of Community Engagement is focused on responding to the rapidly changing demographics and cultural mosaic of New Jersey and the nation. The department's function is to strengthen NJPAC's strategies for building relationships with the state's many diverse communities, according to culture, class, ethnicity, lifestyle and race. These goals are accomplished through innovative and targeted events designed to educate, inform and entertain, in collaboration with cultural and educational partners. Events are aligned with genre-based NJPAC programs—specifically classical music, dance, jazz and theater—in a sincere, robust and holistic manner.
One Center Street
Newark, New Jersey 07102
www.njpac.org or 888.GO.NJPAC (888.466.5722)
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States and is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey -- where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. As New Jersey’s Town Square, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the State’s and the world’s best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted over nine million visitors (including more than one million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. Visit www.njpac.org or call 888.GO.NJPAC for more information.
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Location and Directions:
NJPAC is located at 1 Center Street, Newark, New Jersey; a short walk from the Newark Penn Station stop by Newark-bound PATH Train or Amtrak.
Detailed instructions on approaching the venue by car, by bus, by foot or by rail:
For Press Information Contact: Angela Thomas: (201) 503-1333