The New Jersey Performing Arts Center Announces In-Person, Live Jazz Performances Beginning in September

Celebrating its 10th anniversary is the annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival showcasing an all-star lineup of the country's best musicians, held Nov 6-20.

By: Jul. 12, 2021

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center Announces In-Person, Live Jazz Performances Beginning in September

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center is welcoming live, in-person jazz back to its stage throughout 2021 beginning with Grammy Award-winning vocalist Gregory Porter (Sep 24). The TD Jazz Series continues in the Fall with "Salsa Meets Jazz" (Sep 25), saxophonist Boney James (Oct 14), and vocal powerhouse duo Tierney Sutton and Ann Hampton Calloway (Oct 15). Celebrating its 10th anniversary is the annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival showcasing an all-star lineup of the country's best musicians, held Nov 6-20, including the New Jersey premiere of Christian McBride's The Movement Revisited. Below is a complete schedule, along with information about the programs. For everything else, visit


When: September 24-December 9, 2021

Where: 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.

Tickets: $29 and up. To purchase, contact NJPAC at 1.888.GO.NJPAC/1.888.466.5722 or visit

Health + Safety Protocols: NJPAC regularly updates its COVID protocols and procedures based on CDC, federal, state, city, and other scientific data. At this time, masks are recommended, but not required. Visit for the most updated guidelines.

Artists and schedules are subject to change

Fri 09.24 @ 8:00 p.m. An Evening with Gregory Porter

Gregory Porter (vocals)

Grammy award-winning vocalist Gregory Porter returns! Hot on the heels of his revelatory 2020 album, All Rise, he's helping NJPAC welcome jazz back with his distinctive bone-deep baritone. If you've missed live music, this is one earth-rumbling, bone-shaking performance you absolutely can't miss. Gregory Porter swings with all the earthy warmth of Nat King Cole, the soulful spirit of Stevie Wonder, and the poet's truth of Bill Withers. Tickets: $53.75-$103.75

Sat 09.25 @ 8:00 p.m. "Salsa Meets Jazz"

Tito Nieves (vocals)

Arturo O'Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra

Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra

In the best tradition of the venerated "Salsa Meets Jazz," this all-star lineup features three of the greatest attractions in all of contemporary Afro-Latin music: 10-time Grammy Award-winning, hard-swinging virtuoso pianist Eddie Palmieri and his Salsa Orchestra, Puerto Rico's celebrated son and "Pavarotti of Salsa" singer Tito Nieves best known for his version of Pete Rodriguez's 1967 classic "I Like It Like That," and storied bandleader and keyboardist Arturo O'Farrill (son of legendary Cuban musician Chico O'Farrill and heir to a great musical legacy) and his Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra who are fresh off of a 2021 Grammy win for Best Latin Jazz Album for Four Questions (Zoho Music). Tickets: $29-$89

Thu 10.14 @ 7:30 p.m. Boney James

Boney James (saxophone)

It's smooth. It's sultry. It's got just the right amount of swagger. That's the music of four-time GRAMMY nominee and multi-platinum saxophonist Boney James. In June 2020, he released his 17th album, Solid. Solid follows his smash 2017 release Honestly which became his 11th #1 Billboard Contemporary Jazz Album. Over the years, his soul- and R&B-infused style of jazz has earned Boney James four RIAA gold albums, a Soul Train Award and two NAACP Image Award nominations. Billboard named him one of the Top Three Contemporary Jazz Artists Of The Decade along with Kenny G and Norah Jones. "I love playing live, maybe more than I ever did," says James. "A lot of guys get tired of the traveling but it's still a joy for me every time I go out there and play." Tickets: $59-$99

Fri 10.15 @ 7:30 p.m. Tierney Sutton & Ann Hampton Callaway - In Technicolor

Tierney Sutton (vocals)
Ann Hampton Callaway (vocals)

Jazz queens Tierney Sutton and Ann Hampton Callaway join forces for the first time with a tribute to famous film music. Tierney and Callaway will perform solos, duets and exciting new arrangements of songs you're sure to remember from movies both classic and contemporary including, but not limited to: "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Let's Face the Music and Dance," "Blue Skies," "As Time Goes By," and "Windmills of Your Mind." Tickets: $59-$69

Sat 11.06 @ 7:00 p.m. TD James Moody Jazz Festival: 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. TD James Moody Jazz Festival: 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

Thu 11.11 @ 7:30 p.m. TD James Moody Jazz Festival: 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)

Gospel choir (TBA)

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."
Tickets: $29

Fri 11.12 @ 8:00 p.m. TD James Moody Jazz Festival: Chris Botti

Chris Botti (trumpet)

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 @ 8:00 p.m. TD James Moody Jazz Festival: Dianne Reeves and Artemis

Dianne Reeves (vocals)


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. TD James Moody Jazz Festival: 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.

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.

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 (co-host, bass)
Dianne Reeves (co-host, vocals)
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," jazz greats Christian McBride (NJPAC's Jazz Advisor) and Dianne Reeves will both co-host and and perform as guest artists. 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. Deadline for singers to enter is September 7, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. EST. For more information or to enter the competition, visit Tickets: $39

Sat 11.20 @ 7:30 p.m. TD James Moody Jazz Festival: Swingin' at 96: Anat Cohen and the Newport All-Stars Salute George Wein

Anat Cohen (saxophone, clarinet)

Christian McBride (bass)

Kenny Barron (piano)

Randy Brecker (trumpet)
Lewis Nash (drums)

Lew Tabackin (flute, tenor sax)
Peter Washington (bass)

This year's TD Moody Jazz Festival will end with a stellar musical line-up honoring pianist and bandleader George Wein, who founded the Newport Jazz Festival in 1954. 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 96 years of living. 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. Wein, universally is regarded as the single most significant producer and impresario jazz has ever known. Tickets: $59

Thu 12.09 @ 7:30 p.m. Jane Lynch: A Swingin' Little Christmas Live in Concert

Jane Lynch (host, vocals)

Kate Flannery (vocals)
Tim Davis (vocals)
The Tony Guerrero Quintet

Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actress Jane Lynch (Glee, Hollywood Game Night, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) is getting into the holiday spirit. Joined by her friends Kate Flannery (best known for her portrayal of "Meredith the Drunk" on NBC's The Office) and Tim Davis (vocal producer for Glee), this festive concert includes fresh takes on classic Christmas carols and new nostalgia-inspired tunes. The bandleader, Tony Guerrero, fuses clever jazz arrangements with tight vocal harmonies performed by the jazz group, The Tony Guerrero Quintet. The show's eponymous album A Swingin' Little Christmas hit Billboard's Top 10 Adult Contemporary chart. Tickets: On Sale July 18th