Hot time in the city

NJPAC’s summer concert series: always a party, never a cover


Horizon Foundation Sounds of the City at NJPAC, the hottest outdoor music scene in New Jersey on Thursday nights in July and August, is focused on the word “city” this summer.

Newark – as hometown, workplace and muse – is a theme threaded throughout the lineup of free dance parties. They begin on July 11 with DJ Felix Hernandez, host of The Rhythm Revue on Newark’s WBGO Jazz 88.3FM, and wrap up on Aug. 29 with the Brick City’s Lords of the Underground. Newarker DJ Wallah of HOT 97 is the opener that evening.

But the biggest celebration of the city is reserved for July 18, when Newark Salutes Its Own with about a dozen local talents who sing, rap, play instruments, spin music, perform spoken-word pieces, and otherwise strut their cutting-edge stuff. A house band and deejay will support such artists as vocalists Janetza Miranda and Tia Holt and rapper-singer The Euphony.   

Singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Angela Johnson, also a Newark resident, opens for New Power Generation, featuring the music of Prince, on Aug. 1. She’ll undoubtedly unpack selections from her solo albums, including her sixth and latest, Naturally Me. A newcomer to Harrison, just a short stroll to the Newark city line, is New Orleans pianist Davell Crawford, who crosses the Passaic River with his Davell Crawford Movement for a concert on Aug. 22.

The music festival’s eight events draw thousands of music lovers to NJPAC’s Chambers Plaza to listen to a wide diversity of musical styles – other attractions include a dance floor, an artisans’ marketplace, a fleet of food trucks and an al fresco bar.

“Rap, urban contemporary gospel, blues, reggae, salsa, roots, R&B, funk … and these are just some of the genres that come immediately to mind,” said NJPAC Executive Vice President and Executive Producer David Rodriguez, describing the range of music as one of the most diverse the Arts Center has programmed for a two-month span.

Concerts are free and run from 5 to 9pm. NJPAC’s in-house restaurant, Nico Kitchen + Bar, is open during performances. In the event of rain, scheduling advisories are found at



Felix Hernandez’s Rhythm Revue Dance Party
The popular live version of the metro area’s first and longest-running radio show dedicated to spinning classic soul and R&B.

Newark Salutes Its Own
Catch the stars of tomorrow today at this showcase of local talent.

The Wailers’ Julian Junior Marvin
Also appearing: The Alchemystics (reggae/hip hop)
A member of Bob Marley & The Wailers from 1977 until Marley’s passing in 1981, Jamaican-born guitarist and vocalist Julian Junior Marvin fronts the current Wailers band, playing Marley’s songs the way they were meant to be heard.

AUG. 1
New Power Generation
Featuring the music of Prince
Also appearing: Singer and songwriter Angela Johnson
Prince’s backing band through the 1990s and 2000s reunites for this tribute to the late superstar’s epic body of work. Their high-energy performance includes Prince’s biggest hits: songs like “Diamonds and Pearls,” “1999,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” and “Purple Rain.”

AUG. 8
Charlie Cruz
Also appearing: 3D Rhythm of Life (Latin/tropical soul band)
One of the fastest rising stars in salsa music, vocalist Charlie Cruz has shared a stage with Gilberto Santa Rosa, Victor Manuelle and Tito Nieves. His string of hit singles includes “Bombon de Azucar,” “Amarte es un Problema” and “Déjala que Baile.”

AUG. 15
A Night of Inspiration
The Walls Group & The String Queens
Also appearing: DJ Sir Charles (from WBLS)
Sublimely moving music from two top acts: The Walls Group, four talented siblings who specialize in urban contemporary gospel, and the String Queens, a dynamic, all-female string trio.

AUG. 22
The Davell Crawford Movement
Also appearing: The VooDUDES (zydeco/rock/blues/country)
An evening of American roots music – which includes gospel, traditional jazz, country, funk and R&B – courtesy of acclaimed New Orleans pianist Davell Crawford and his band.

AUG. 29
Lords of the Underground
Also appearing: DJ Wallah (HOT 97) and students of NJPAC’s Hip Hop Intensive
The chart-topping rap trio of Bruce Anthony Colston (aka DJ Lord Jazz), Dupré Kelly (DoItAll), and Al’Terik Wardrick (Mr. Funke) broke onto the music scene with their 1993 debut LP, Here Come the Lords. That album went platinum and turned the Lords into one of rap’s best-selling units. The group went on to sell over 5 million albums worldwide, and to release five No. 1 singles on the Billboard Rap Chart, including classics like “Psycho,” “Chief Rocka,” “Funky Child” and “Tic Toc.”


NJPAC’s great indoors: ‘Bring It!’ and other cool events

For a special night out this summer, slip into something more comfortable – like a beautiful, air-conditioned concert hall. Here are highlights of performances taking place in NJPAC’s Prudential Hall and Victoria Theater during July and August:

Bring It! LIVE: The Dance Battle Tour (July 13)

Back at NJPAC by popular demand, Coach Dianna Williams and the Dancing Dolls of Lifetime’s hit series Bring It! appear in an all-new production of heart-pounding dance routines and lively audience interaction.

Anthony Hamilton and Jazmine Sullivan (Aug. 9)
Two of contemporary R&B’s most acclaimed stars share the stage: GRAMMY-winning neo-soul man Anthony Hamilton (“Can’t Let Go,” “Charlene”) and singer-songwriter Jazmine Sullivan (“Need U Bad,” “Let It Burn”).

Beres Hammond & Friends (Aug. 10)
Revel in a night of feel-good reggae with GRAMMY Award nominee Beres Hammond (“One Love, One Life,” “Rockaway”) and his special guests.

Gladys Knight with special guest Will Downing (Aug. 29)
Seven-time GRAMMY winner Gladys Knight, whose singular songbook includes “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “Neither One of Us,” is teamed with Will Downing, the “Prince of Sophisticated Soul.”


May 29, 2019