Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

The 10th Annual TD James Moody Festival Announced at NJPAC

Featuring performances from Chaka Khan, Chris Botti, Christian Mcbride, Diane Reeves & a celebration of George Wein.

The 10th Annual TD James Moody Festival Announced at NJPAC

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center celebrates the 10th annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival showcasing an all-star lineup of the country's best musicians, held Nov 5-21, including the award-winning Maria Schneider Orchestra, the New Jersey premiere of Christian McBride's The Movement Revisited, the Tony Award-winning Lillias White (currently on Broadway in Chicago), a special tribute concert to George Wein.

NJPAC will be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition known as the "The SASSY Awards." The special event will feature jazz great and Montclair resident Christian McBride as host and guest performers. The Top 5 finalist are Andrea Miller, Costa Mesa CA, April May Webb, Edison NJ, Arta Jekabsone, Jersey CIty NJ, G. Thomas Allen, Chicago IL, Vik Gečyt?-, Paris France. These gifted young contestants from around the world will be evaluated on vocal quality, musicality, technique, performance, individuality, artistic interpretation, and ability to swing. The winner receives a $5,000 cash prize. For anyone interested in participating the competition can visit

Pianist and bandleader George Wein, who founded the Newport Jazz Festival in 1954, is universally regarded as the single greatest producer and impresario jazz has ever known. (Music festivals like SxSW and Coachella owe him a great deal as well.) Join us as we honor and celebrate George, who recently passed at the age of 95. This all-star concert will feature contemporary swing saxophonist and clarinetist Anat Cohen, along with special guests including Christian McBride, Kenny Barron, Johnathan Blake, Randy Brecker, Lew Tabackin, Peter Washington, Duchess and more. This is sure to be one of the most memorable nights in the history of jazz at NJPAC, and a fitting tribute to the life and legacy of George Wein.

Tickets to attend the TD James Moody Jazz Festival are on-sale now at Ticket Link or 888.GO.NJPAC (888.466.5722) or by visiting the NJPAC Box Office at 1 Center Street, Newark, New Jersey. Below is a complete schedule, along with information about the programs.

TD James Moody Jazz Festival Line-UPl

Sat 11.06 @ 6:00 p.m. Bethany Baptist Church Jazz Vespers: Buster Williams
Buster Williams (bass)

Co-presented by the Bethany Baptist Church Jazz Vespers, NJPAC welcomes back master musician Buster Williams. A native of Camden, NJ, Buster Williams is a prodigious artist whose playing knows no limits. At age 17, he was playing bass for the Gene Ammons/Sonny Stiff band; the long, long list of jazz giants with whom he's performed and recorded since then includes Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, Sonny Rollins, and Sarah Vaughan, just to name a few. His arrangements and compositions have been rec­orded by (among others) Roy Ayers, Roy Hargrove, Larry Coryell, Freddie Hubbard, Buck Hill, the Jazz Crusaders, Mary Lou Williams, and Herbie Hancock. His deep, resilient and inventive playing has made him the bassist of choice throughout the jazz world. "After working almost continuously for 30 years as a sideman," says Buster Williams, "I decided it was time to take the plunge, step up to the front, play my music, and express my concept of a cohesive musical unit. I've served my apprenticeship under many great masters and feel that it's my honor and privilege to carry on the lineage that makes this music such an artistically rich art form." This event takes place at Bethany Baptist Church at 117 W. Market Street, Newark, NJ. Tickets: FREE

Sat 11.06 @ 7:00 p.m. Pedro Giraudo + Nimbus Dance
Pedro Giraudo Tango Quartet:
Pedro Giraudo (bass, bandleader)
Nick Danielson (violin)
Rodolfo Zanetti (bandoneon)
Ahmed Alom (piano)

Based in Jersey City, N.J., the boundary-pushing, community-driven modern dance ensemble performs a special program as part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival-including the world premiere of Raucous Caucus Tango, a collaboration with Latin Grammy Award-winning tango virtuoso Pedro Giraudo and his Tango Quartet. Giraudo is regarded as one of the most compelling tango artists today- an active cultural ambassador for the beautiful and passionate music of his native Argentina. This creative mash-up of bawdy storytelling, slapstick humor, and exquisite choreography pokes fun at our electoral process, set to the passionate, dramatic rhythms of Argentine tango. Tickets: $59

Sat. 11.06 @ 8:00 p.m. Chaka Khan with Special Guest Leela James
Chaka Khan (vocals)
Leela James (vocals)
The reigning Queen of funk, soul, and R&B-and 10-time Grammy Award winner-Chaka Khan returns to NJPAC for what's sure to be a classic concert, featuring such iconic hits as "I Feel for You," "Through the Fire," "I'm Every Woman," "Ain't Nobody" and others. "The influence of a vocal institution such as Chaka Khan never fades far from the minds of millions of fans... She makes each tune she touches a standout that is hard to resist, and even harder to forget." (Soul Tracks)
Leela James first burst onto the scene with her 2006 debut album A Change is Gonna Come, introducing audiences to her considerable vocal chops and garnering nominations for Outstanding New Artist at the NAACP Image Awards and Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist of 2008 at the Soul Train Music Awards. For Leela, it's always been about the soul. So much so that she was nicknamed Baby Etta as a little girl growing up in Los Angeles. Along with Chaka Khan and Al Green, she counts Etta James among her vocal heroes and paid homage in 2012 by recording her album Loving You More...In the Spirit of Etta James. Leela's influences run the gamut of vocalists from soul to funk, and jazz, and her interpretation of music touches on synesthetic. Tickets: $49-$119

Sun 11.07 @ 2:00 p.m. WBGO Children's Concert:
Don Braden
Don Braden (tenor sax, flute)

Don Braden (Tenor Sax & Flute)
Jeremy Warren (drums)
Mimi Jones (bass)
Kyle Koehler (organ / piano)
James Gibbs (trumpet)
Bradford Hayes (Alto Sax)
Trineice Robinson (vocals)

Don Braden is known around the world as an exciting and interactive jazz soloist, a creative and prolific composer, a passionate and energetic educator and as a specialist at arranging and performing classic popular songs in the modern jazz style. Having spent years as the saxophonist with greats like Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard and Roy Haynes, he has developed a harmonic and rhythmic sophistication giving him a unique approach to improvising as well as composing and arranging. According to All About Jazz, he "creates accessible music built atop the pillars of wit, honesty, swing, and heart, and delivers music that alternately cooks, calms, struts, and soars." No stranger to NJPAC, Braden served 15 years as the Music Director of its Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens program. Tickets: FREE

Thu 11.11 @ 7:30 p.m. New Jersey Premiere of Christian McBride's The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons
Christian McBride (bass, bandleader)
Sonia Sanchez (orator)
Willie Perdomo (orator)
John Murillo (orator)
Dion Graham (orator)
Christian McBride Big Band (line-up TBA)
Voices of the Flame (gospel choir)

NJPAC Jazz Advisor, bassist, composer, bandleader and Grammy Award winner Christian McBride has played everything from Monk to Funk. But this latest project is his most ambitious yet: The Movement Revisited, a full-length work for jazz orchestra, vocalists and orators, celebrating the great leaders of The Civil Rights Movement. The words-and the praises-of Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Barack Obama will be spoken and sung in this inspiring performance. Celebrating its New Jersey premiere, this all-encompassing work transcends the topical and the political and crosses into the realm of the spiritual, celebrating not just what it means to be Black in America but what it means to be human on this earth. Orators Sonia Sanchez, Willie Perdomo, John Murillo and Dion Graham will accompany the 18-piece Christian McBride Big Band, reading excerpts from The Movement Revisited. According to the Los Angeles Times, this is "a work that was admirable-to paraphrase Dr. King-for both the content of its music and the character of its message."

The evening will begin with a performance by the Last Poets: Abiodun Oyewole, Umar Bin Hassan and Babadon Babatunde, joined by Newark's Honorable Mayor Ras J. Baraka. With their politically charged raps, taut rhythms and dedication to raising African-American consciousness, the Last Poets laid the groundwork for the emergence of hip hop. Contributing to the culture since 1968, they have most recently collaborated with contemporary artists including Kanye West, Common and Nas. Tickets: $29

Fri 11.12 @ 7:30 p.m. Divine Sassy: Lillias White Sings Sarah Vaughan
Lillias White (vocals)

Tony Award (Best Featured Actress in a Musical, The Life) and Daytime Emmy Award winner (Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series, Sesame Street) Lillias White is world-renowned for her glorious voice and extraordinary ability to communicate the heart of a song. She is currently on Broadway playing the role of Matron "Mama" Morton in Chicago.

According to The New York Times, she is a "one-of-a-kind performer who combines the sass of a classic blues mama with the skill of a Broadway star." Her first solo studio album, Get Yourself Some Happy!, was released this past summer via Old Mill Recording. White first discovered Vaughan's music a long time ago, and the vocalist's artistry has stuck with her ever since her youth. The concert, White says, is a way to pay tribute to Vaughan's impact and to reintroduce the world to an incredible singer. Tickets: $50-$70

Fri 11.12 @ 8:00 p.m.: Chris Botti
Chris Botti (trumpet)
Chris Botti (CB) - Trumpet
Lee Pearson - Drums
Reggie Hamilton - Bass
Leonardo Amuedo - Guitar
Holger Marjamaa - Piano
Andy Snitzer - Saxophone
Caroline Campbell - Violin
Sy Smith - Vocals
Veronica Swift - Vocals
Jonathan Johnson - Vocals

Since the release of his 2004 critically acclaimed CD When I Fall In Love, Chris Botti has become the largest-selling American instrumental artist. His success has crossed over to audiences usually reserved for pop music and his ongoing association with PBS has led to four #1 jazz albums, as well as multiple Gold, Platinum and Grammy Awards. Most recently, his latest album Impressions won the Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album. Performing worldwide and selling more than four million albums, he has found a form of creative expression that begins in jazz and expands beyond the limits of any single genre. Tickets: $29-$79

Sat 11.13 @ 2:00 p.m. The WBGO Story:
Bright Moments From Newark to the World

"The WBGO Story: Bright Moments From Newark to the World" is a 55-minute award-winning documentary that tells the story of how WBGO 88.3 FM came to become a powerful cultural force that now reaches millions of Jazz listeners around the world. Released earlier this year, the film focuses on WBGO's creation and features interviews and stories from people who helped launch the station, including its founder, Bob Ottenhoff, and its longtime special events and community relations coordinator Mrs. Dorthaan Kirk, an NEA Jazz master recipient and widow of Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Broadcasting for more than 40 years, WBGO is New Jersey's first public radio station and a global cornerstone in the field of jazz. "It's more than just music to jazz listeners," says producer Chris Daniel, who grew up in Jamesburg, in Middlesex County. "I really just wanted to tell a good story about how people love the music and how they worked together to promote it." Tickets: FREE

Sat 11.13 @ 8:00 p.m. TD James Moody Jazz Festival: Dianne Reeves plus Artemis
Dianne Reeves (vocals)

Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves - Vocal/Band leader
Peter Martin - Piano/Keys
Romero Lubambo - Guitars
Ben Williams - Basses
Terreon Gully - Drums

Renee Rosnes (piano)
Anat Cohen (clarinet)
Ingrid Jensen (trumpet)
Nicole Glover (saxophone)
Noriko Ueda (bass)
Allison Miller (drums)

Five-time Grammy Award winner Dianne Reeves is the pre-eminent jazz vocalist in the world, known for her breathtaking virtuosity, improvisational prowess and unique jazz and R&B stylings. Among her many honors, she has received honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music and the Juilliard School, and the NEA designated her a Jazz Master-the highest honor the United States bestows on jazz artists. Hailing from America, Canada, Israel, Chile and Japan, Artemis is an international, multi-generational all-star group featuring jazz musicians Renee Rosnes (lives in West Orange, NJ), Anat Cohen, Ingrid Jensen, Nicole Glover, Noriko Ueda & Allison Miller. It recently won Best New Artist by Jazz Times 2020 Reader's Poll and Mid-Size Ensemble of the Year 2020 by Jazz Journalists Association. "Each individual member of this supergroup is a bona fide jazz titan," says the President of Blue Note Records, Don Was. With passion, power and sensitivity, they create unforgettable performances of high-wire interplay and pure joy. Tickets: $29-$79

Sun 11.14 @ 11:00 a.m. + 1:00 p.m. Dorthaan's Place: Cyrus Chestnut
Cyrus Chestnut (piano)
NJPAC continues Dorthaan's Place, its popular Sunday jazz brunch series curated by Newark's First Lady of Jazz, Dorthaan Kirk. The series made its debut during NJPAC's 2012-13 season and has grown ever since. "The finest in jazz is on the menu...anticipation runs high at Dorthaan's Place, whether you're there for the music, the food, the scene, Dorthaan, or all of the above." (All About Jazz)
This edition presents the piano stylings of Cyrus Chestnut, "the best jazz pianist of his generation" (Time). Taking a break from touring the world's clubs, concert halls, and jazz festivals, he'll stop by NICO Kitchen + Bar for a musical brunch that's not to be missed. Learn why The New York Times calls Cyrus "a wildly imaginative improviser whose solos are free-associative delights, full of dark and swinging riffs, rumbling low notes, and splatters of upper register tickles."
There are two brunch seatings: 11:00 a.m. (music begins at 11:30a.m.) and 1:00 p.m. (music begins at 1:30 p.m.). Tickets: $45

Sun 11.14 @ 3:00 p.m. TD James Moody Jazz Festival: 10th Annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition
Christian McBride (host, , bass)
Dianne Reeves (special guest performer, vocals
Renee Rosnes (judge)
Steve Williams (judge)
Jazzmeia Horn (judge)
John Pizzarelli (judge)
Sheila Jordan (judge)
The divine Sarah Vaughan-Newark's greatest musical gift to the world-got her start as the winner of a talent contest. Now, NJPAC honors her legacy every year with the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. For this special 10th anniversary of "The SASSY Awards," NJPAC's Jazz Advisor Christian McBride will both co-host and perform as a guest artist alongside guest performer Dianne Reeves. This event offers outstanding jazz singers a one-of-a-kind platform for embarking on a career in the music business-and offers audience members a chance to discover the jazz stars of tomorrow. Gifted young contestants from around the world are evaluated on vocal quality, musicality, technique, performance, individuality, artistic interpretation, and ability to swing. The winner receives a $5,000 cash prize. Past winners include Cyrille Aimée, Jazzmeia Horn, Quiana Lynell, Laurin Talese, and more. For more information or to enter the competition, visit Tickets: $39

Sat 11.20 @ 7:30 p.m. TD James Moody Jazz Festival: A Celebration of George Wein Featuring Anat Cohen, Kenny Barron, Randy Brecker, Christian McBride, Lew Tabackin, Peter Washington, Duchess and more

Anat Cohen (saxophone, clarinet)
Christian McBride (bass)
Kenny Barron (piano)
Johnathan Blake (drums)
Randy Brecker (trumpet)
Lew Tabackin (flute, tenor sax)
Peter Washington (bass)
Duchess (vocals: Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner, Melissa Stylianou)

This year's TD Moody Jazz Festival will end with a stellar musical line-up honoring and celebrating pianist and bandleader George Wein, who recently passed at the age of 96. Wein founded the Newport Jazz Festival in 1954, and was universally regarded as the single greatest producer and impresario jazz has ever known. He went on to found the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1970 and was honored in 2015 with a Grammy Trustees Award for his festival-production work. Wein will be lauded with an all-star celebration led by musical director/contemporary swing saxophonist and clarinetist Anat Cohen. The Newport Jazz All-Star lineup will pay tribute to Wein's 65+ years of great jazz concerts and his life and legacy. This evening is sure to be one of the most memorable nights in Wein's long and storied career and the history of jazz at NJPAC. Tickets: $59

Sun 11.21 @ 3:00 + 7:00 p.m. Maria Schneider Orchestra
The last time the Maria Schneider Orchestra performed in the tri-state was in November 2019 at New York City's now defunct Jazz Standard. NJPAC is thrilled to welcome the ensemble back to the area which will surely be THE highlight of the jazz season. For the past quarter-century, beginning with her orchestra's debut album Evanescence (1994), composer/conductor Maria Schneider has developed a deeply personal way of writing for her 17-member collective; like Duke Ellington, she has tailored her compositions to highlight the individually expressive voices of her soloists. In July 2018, Maria Schneider was awarded the highest honor in jazz, as a recipient of the 2019 Jazz Masters Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Maria and her orchestra are fresh off of winning two Grammy Awards, "Album of the Year" award from Grand Prix de L'Academie du Jazz, Jazz Journalists Association, and NPR Jazz Critics Poll, as well as a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize for their latest album, Data Lords. Tickets: $59

Vote Now for the 2022 BroadwayWorld New Jersey Awards
voting ends in

More Hot Stories For You

Fred Hersch And Esperanza Spalding Celebrate New Album At NJPAC, January 29Fred Hersch And Esperanza Spalding Celebrate New Album At NJPAC, January 29
December 6, 2022

Pianist/composer Fred Hersch and vocalist/bassist/songwriter esperanza spalding (stylized in all lower case) can both be counted among the most acclaimed and inventive artists in modern jazz. The Village Vanguard is the music's most reveredvenue, having played host to countless legendary musicians and beloved live recordings. The duo and the club converge for a magical performance on Alive at the Village Vanguard, a rare opportunity for listeners to enjoy the singular and thrilling collaboration between two marquee jazz artists at the top of their game.

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company Celebrates The Lunar New Year: Year Of The Black Water RabbitNai-Ni Chen Dance Company Celebrates The Lunar New Year: Year Of The Black Water Rabbit
December 6, 2022

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company will begins its NY/NJ celebration of the Lunar New Year: Year of the Black Water Rabbit beginning on the week of Jan 16, 2023 starting at NJPAC in Newark, NJ and ending on February 5, 2023 3PM at the Kupferberg Center of Queens College in NYC.

BergenPAC Students Dance At Carnegie Hall In A NIGHT OF INSPIRATIONBergenPAC Students Dance At Carnegie Hall In A NIGHT OF INSPIRATION
December 6, 2022

The event features a mix of music, dance, and spoken word performances from diverse traditions. The production will be held Saturday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. in Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium and is led by acclaimed producer, composer, and music director Ray Chew, and co-produced with his wife and business partner Vivian Scott Chew, a global music marketing executive.

Morris Choral Society Presents HOLIDAY/FAVORITES Concert This SaturdayMorris Choral Society Presents HOLIDAY/FAVORITES Concert This Saturday
December 6, 2022

The Morris Choral Society celebrates its 49th season with its annual holiday concert entitled 'Holiday/Favorites' on Saturday, December 10, 3:00 PM at the United Methodist Church on the Green in Morristown.

Madison Public Theatre to Present A MERRY MADISON SEASONAL SPECTACULAR Holiday ConcertMadison Public Theatre to Present A MERRY MADISON SEASONAL SPECTACULAR Holiday Concert
December 6, 2022

The Madison Public Theatre, a not-for-profit theatre based in Madison, New Jersey, has announced their upcoming festive holiday fundraiser, 'A Merry Madison Seasonal Spectacular.'