Last night we recently made our first trip to a venue we’ve been clamoring to visit. Having opened a few years ago to much fanfare, Roxy & Dukes caught our attention with word of their unique style and dance floor — a feature missing from many jazz venues these days.
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Wow. Talk about a band that does not disappoint! It’s Saturday night and Jazzville, NJ Meetup Group is in attendance at the Gas House Gorillas show at the Robin’s Nest in Linden. It’s a friendly, if cozy, little juke joint that specializes in blues acts. But if you’re here to sit back and take in a quiet, relaxing evening, you are at the wrong show. Early in the night, the crowd’s energy boils over into spontaneous dancing as couples -and even singles- writhe and twist rhythmically among the tables.
She may have made history at this year’s Grammy Awards by becoming the first jazz musician EVER to win Best New Artist, but Esperanza Spalding hasn’t let the hype change her. Humbly walking onto the unlit stage of the Union County Performing Arts Center on Saturday, March 5, Spalding turned on a lamp, took off her coat and poured herself a glass of wine, creating an atmosphere of tranquility amidst the whirlwind of activity that’s occurred in these few weeks since then. Having read Esperanza’s bio detailing how she first decided she wanted to be a musician at age four after watching Yo Yo Ma perform on an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, I couldn’t help but feel that her “arrival” was a small tribute to the daily ritual he performed at the start of every episode.
Fresh off her win for Best New Artist at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards (and all the Bieber controversy that surrounded it), Esperanza Spalding will be playing at the historic Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway on March 5th.
Jersey jazz lovers: The weather outside is frightful, but don’t let that stop you from joining us this week at two live music events.
I once heard a wise saying that went something like this: “Smart people learn from their mistakes; smarter people learn from the mistakes of others.”
Sadly, in the NJ jazz world we have an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of Annette Njie, the Trenton promoter who created the Trenton International Jazz & Blues Festival that ran earlier this year from September 17-19 at various venues around Trenton. The festival itself went off without a hitch, but when it came time to pay the two dozen acts, most were left high and dry, receiving partial payment or none at all.
Is the world-famous Cecil Brooks III looking to sell his jazz club in West Orange, NJ? I don’t know, but evidence points to this being the case. The listing says a “Local Well Known Restaurant & Jazz Club” in “West Orange, NJ” is for sale with an asking price of $1,000,000.
You’ve heard me say it before – my daily NJ-centric jazz searches typically produce a list of band websites, local shows or other upcoming jazz events. On rare occasion, there’s a jazz club for sale or someone releasing a jazz-infused collection of Michael Jackson tunes. But late last week I had the unique pleasure of discovering a calendar featuring female jazz singers from the Garden State. What a treat! I had to investigate. (more…)
For those who didn’t know, Newark has always played a big part in the New Jersey jazz scene, rich in history and cultural traditions. So it’s only natural to learn that a major jazz event will be taking place there this Friday in Lincoln Park.
The 5th Annual Lincoln Park Music Festival is set to kick off on July 30th at noon. Hosted by famed poet and activist Amiri Baraka, the Jazz All-Star Newark Arkestra will pay tribute to Newark composers, covering James Moody’s “Moody’s Mood for Love,” Babs Gonzalez & Dizzy Gillespie’s “Oo Pappa Da” and Sarah Vaughan’s (the “Divine One”) “Lullaby of Birdland.” Homage will also be paid to Newark icons Woody Shaw and Larry Young.
If you’re looking for a way to help the people of Haiti following the devastation that was caused after that horrific earthquake just six months ago, stop by the Salem Roadhouse Café at Townley Presbyterian Church this coming Saturday.