Top 12 Arts Events of the Week in NJ: Montclair Jazz Festival, Central Jersey Jazz Festival, and More

The 2022 edition of the Montclair Jazz Festival will feature a star-studded lineup.

Here’s a roundup of arts events happening across the state, through September 15.


Vocalist Danielle Ponder, bassist Christian McBride, keyboardist Matthew Whitaker and all-star band Artemis will be among the performers on the Montclair Jazz FestivalThe free, outdoor Downtown Jamboree, produced by Montclair’s educational organization Jazz House Kids, will take place on September 10. Here is the schedule:


Downtown Jamboree at BDP Holdings’ Lackawanna Stage
1:30 p.m.: Jazz House Collective celebrates Charles Mingus
3 p.m.: Ozmosys with Omar Hakim and Rachel Z
4:30 p.m.: Artemis with Renee Rosnes, Ingrid Jenson, Alexa Tarantino, Nicole Glover, Noriko Ueda and Allison Miller
6 p.m.: Christian McBride + Friends
7:45 p.m.: Danielle Ponder

Uptown at The Fullerton Stage (Bloomfield and Fullerton Avenues)
1 p.m.: Matthew Whitaker
2:30 p.m.: Claudia Acuna
4 p.m.: The Cookers with Billy Harper, Cecil McBee, George Cables, Eddie Henderson, Billy Hart, David Weiss, Donald Harrison
5:30 p.m.: Emmanuel Wilkins
7 p.m.: Monty Alexander

Midtown to The Blue Note at Sea Street Stage (Bloomfield Avenue and Seymour Street)
1 p.m.: Moody Scholars
2 p.m.: Nathan Farrell Quartet
3 p.m.: Esteban Castro Trio
4 p.m.: The Dorsey Quintet
5 p.m.: Montclair State University All-Stars
6 p.m.: Jazz House All Stars/Blue Note at the Sea Band

After Party at the Wellmont Theater
9 p.m.: DJ Logic


This year’s edition of the annual report Central Jersey Jazz Festival will present free shows in four cities for three days.

Blues People, Marion Cowings (with AC Lincoln) and others will perform on Stangl Road in Flemington on September 9 at 6:30 p.m.

Lineup on Livingston Street in New Brunswick on September 10 from 1 to 6 p.m. will include the Cyrus Chestnut Quartet, the Lucy Yeghiazaryan Quintet (with Houston Person), the Lee Hogans Quintet and more.

Bobby Sanabria and Ascensión will headline Town Plaza in Metuchen on September 10 from 6-9:30 p.m. with the Metuchen High School Jazz Ensemble and students from the Metuchen Dance Center.

The festival will conclude with the Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Latin Experience, Curtis Lundy & Umoja Ensemble, Lezlie Harrison Quartet and NJPAC Jazz for Teens students performing at Somerset County Court House Green in Somerville, September 1 from 1-6 p.m.

Seven-time Grammy-winning trumpeter Randy Brecker – whose career also includes collaborations with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Bruce Springsteen and Frank Zappa – will perform with his wife, saxophonist Ada Rovatti, as well as pianist Bill O’Connell, bassist Marco Panascia and drummer Steve Johns at New Brunswick Center for the Performing ArtsSeptember 9 at 8 p.m. Brecker and Rovatti have collaborated on a 2019 album, Brecker plays Rovatti: Sacred Bondwith songs written by Rovatti and performed by Brecker, Rovatti and others.

• Max Weinberg and The Smithereens (with Marshall Crenshaw) will both perform in a free concert on September 10 at Oak Ridge Park to Clark, presented by the Union County Board of Commissioners. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets or lawn chairs to the 6-10 p.m. event, which will also feature Ray Andersen’s “Bowie and Beyond” tribute to the late David Bowie. The Union County website,, does not specify whether Weinberg will present his Max Weinberg show Jukebox or otherwise perform. But Weinberg’s own website,, lists it as a Jukebox show. Jukebox shows feature Weinberg and other musicians performing classic rock covers requested by audience members.


The Princeton Symphony Orchestra opens its 2022-23 season with concerts at Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium, Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 11 at 4 p.m. PSO Music Director Rossen Milanov will conduct and Anne Akiko Meyers will star on Arturo Márquez fandango Violin Concerto. The program will also include Joaquín Turina fantastic dances, op. 22; by Marcos Fernández AAmerica (US premiere); Prelude by Ruperto Chapí to La Revoltosa; and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Spanish whim.

Drummer and percussionist Billy Martin of the virtuoso jam group Medeski, Martin & Wood will present a solo concert on September 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Black Box Performing Arts Center at Englewood. According to a press release, Martin, a longtime Bergen County resident, “will perform a solo ensemble using percussion instruments, found objects, vocals, flutes, bird calls, and more,” and the show is “designed for people of all ages and backgrounds” and “begins an ongoing residency for Mr. Martin at The Black Box”.


This year’s edition of the free annual review Dance on the lawn festival, taking place September 10 at 3 p.m. at the Montclair Public Library, features performances by Maxine Steinman and Dancers, Nai-Ni Chen and Company, Maurice Chestnut, MORISATO, Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, Bhaarat Nritya Academy, Danceworks & Co. and Sharron Miller’s Academy for the Performing Arts, as well as a work choreographed by Emerging Commissioned New Jersey Choreographer William Ervin.

“Tree View Wedding” by Pamela Moore is part of the exhibition “Life and Landscape: Inspired by George Inness”.


The Montclair Art Museum has a large collection of works by landscape painter George Innes (1825-1894), who lived and worked in Montclair for part of his life. And he will present several of them in a new exhibition, “Visionary landscapes” which will open on September 10 and run until June 30, 2024. It will be a “salon-style” exhibition, with paintings filling the walls from floor to ceiling.

On the sidelines of this exhibition, “Life and Landscape: Inspired by George Inness” – featuring work by approximately 50 artists influenced by Inness – will take place at the museum’s Vance Wall Art Education Center gallery as well as the nearby Leach Gallery at Studio MontclairSept. 9 – Nov. 6 (There will be an opening reception at both locations Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m.)


Billed as a site-specific, traveling and immersive “theatrical exploration of real events” “You Shall Not” will be presented by thought and verse at the Assembly Hall of St. John the Evangelist Church in New Brunswick, Sept. 14-17, 22-24, and 29-30 and Oct. 1 and 6-8. The play explores the high-profile murders of ‘Edward Wheeler Hall and Eleanor Mills in 1922; Hall was working as a priest at St. John the Evangelist at the time of the murder and was having an affair with Mills, a married woman who was a member of his choir. Hall’s wife and two brothers were charged with the murders, but the jury decided there was insufficient evidence to convict.

The Count Basie Center for the Arts will present “In Conversation With the Sopranos” on September 10.


“The Sopranos” cast members Steve Schirripa (Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri), Vincent Pastore (Sal “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero), and Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) will be taking part in an event titled “In conversation with the sopranos”, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. Count Basie Arts Center at the Red Bank. Comedian Joey Kola will host the evening, during which the three actors will share memories and photos, and answer questions from audience members.

Brian O’Halloran from Kevin Smith’s ‘Clerks’ films, Cooper Andrews from ‘The Walking Dead’ TV series and John O’Hurley from ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Dancing With the Stars’ will meet fans at Trenton Punk Rock Flea Marketwhich will take place at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center in Edison on September 10, starting at 10 a.m. Other attractions include over 400 vendors, music and tattooing.

Princeton University will launch its [email protected]: Conversations on Artistic Creation in a Vexed Age” series with a free, open-to-the-public discussion September 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Richardson Auditorium featuring novelist Jennifer Egan and tap artist Michael J. Love, with poet (and Princeton teacher) Paul Muldoon as moderator. According to the university’s website, the series “brings guest artists to campus to discuss the challenges they face making art in the modern world.”


“Land of the Free” at MANA Contemporary, Jersey City. Works by Vincent Valdez, Hugo Crosthwaite and Joe Minter. (Until September 17)

“For Culture, Through Culture: Thirty Years of Black Art, Activism and Achievement” at the Morris Museum, Morris Township. (Until September 25)

“New Jersey Arts Annual: Reemergence” at the Trenton State Museum. (Until April 30)

“And in this place where the flower and the flame meet, we grow” at YES Gallery, Hoboken.

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Willie J. Johnson