Top 20 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Exit Zero Jazz Festival, Outlaw Music Festival, and More



Here’s a roundup of arts events happening across the state, through September 29.


The fall edition of the semester Zero Jazz Festival outing in Cape May begins with an opening night, Sept. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Convention Hall, featuring John Pizzarelli’s Swinging Seven. It then continues with concerts by Joshua Redman on September 30 at 8:30 p.m. and Stacey Kent on October 1 at 8:30 p.m. at the Convention Hall, as well as outdoor music at Exit Zero Ferry Park from September 30 to 30. october. 2, by Angélique Kidjo, Gregory Porter, Shemkia Copeland, José James, Red Baraat, The New Breed Brass Band, The Baylor Project, The Christian Sands Quartet, Daisy Castro and others.

Willie Nelson will bring his annual report Outlaw Music Festival tour at the Freedom Mortgage Pavilion in Camden, September 23 at 3:55 p.m., in its only stop in Jersey. Chris Stapleton, Zach Bryan, Larkin Poe, Brittney Spencer and Nelson’s son Micah’s band Particle Kid will join the 89-year-old Nelson.

•Ringo Starr brings his All Starr Band – also featuring Edgar Winter, Colin Hay, Steve Lukather, Hamish Stuart, Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette – to the Hard Rock live at the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. Foundation, which supports various causes related to health issues, addiction, domestic violence, homelessness and animals in need.


One of the greatest living jazz singers, Dianne Reeves, will headline the second Roots Jazz and Music Festivalto be held on the lawn outside Kean University’s Enlow Hall in Hillside on September 24 from 4-8 p.m. Other artists at the free festival will include the Kean University Jazz Ensemble, Blues People (with Mike Griot, Kelton Cooper, Victor Burks and Gene Lake), Big Fun(k) by Don Braden and Karl Latham, and Judah Tribe with Josh David.

Master singer Pat Guadagno and his band Small Change, with guests Eryn O’Ree and Ryan Gregg, will pay tribute to Tom Waits in a show called “Saturday Night Heart” will take place on September 24 at 8 p.m. Pollack Theater at Monmouth University in West Long Branch.

Sammy Boyd – a mainstay of the New Jersey music scene since the 70s as a manager, concert promoter, booking agent and club owner – died in August at the age of 75. Bar of Wonders at Asbury Park will present a tribute concert titled “A Celebration in Song” September 24 from noon to 6 p.m., with Pat Guadagno & Richard Blackwell, Monmouth County Police & Fire Pipes & Drums, Holme, Sally Joe Boyd, Bobby Bandiera, Arlan Feiles & JT Bowen, Charlie & Chris Brown, and Vini Lopez’s Wonderful Winos. Profits will be donated to the Fulfill food back.


• Vanessa Colliera blues/R&B singer-songwriter who, unlike most blues/R&B singer-songwriters, also plays her own saxophone solos (her 2014 debut album, in fact, was called Heart Soul & Saxophone) will occur at Good-natured music room in Teaneck, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. (with Anthony Gach vernissage), as well as at Ross Farm at Basking Ridge, Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m. The Ross Farm show is outdoors, with attendees bringing blankets or lawn chairs; depending on location, “Picnics or snacks are also welcome, we just ask you to pack what you pack.”

Grammy-nominated British blues-soul guitarist and singer-songwriter James Hunter and his band, James Hunter Sixwill occur at South Orange Performing Arts CenterSeptember 23 at 8 p.m. Hunter’s latest album, With love, the James Hunter Six (released in February) was a compilation of love songs he released over the years.

•Carsie Blanton – who sang protest songs as well as material about life during the pandemic on his 2021 album, love and rage — will occur at Outpost in the Burbs series at the First Congregational Church in Montclair, September 23 at 8 p.m. She will perform with her trio, also featuring bassist Joe Plowman and keyboardist Patrick Firth

The Italian vocal group Il Volo (“The Flight”, in English) released an album last year, Il Volo sings Morricone, devoted to the songs of Ennico Morricone (best known as a prolific composer of film music). He will perform selections from this album, as well as other pieces, at the Events Center at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, September 23 at 8 p.m.

Left to right, James McNew, Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley of Yo La Tengo.

The frenetic city The music festival takes place outdoors at the Orange Loop Amphitheater in Atlantic City on September 24 from noon to 10 p.m., featuring Yo La Tengo, Snail Mail, The Bouncing Souls, Rocket From the Crypt, Titus Andronicus and d other groups. Fred Armisen of “Saturday Night Live” and “Portlandia” fame will host and other attractions will include vendors (selling records, art, clothing and more), “food options for all diets ” and ax throwing.

In addition, the Bourré nightclub and restaurant will host a pre-festival show, September 23 at 7 p.m., featuring Samiam, The Ergs and Night Birds, as well as comedian Natalie Cuomo. And after the festival, on the 24th at 10 p.m., Bourré will present Live Piano Karaoke with Joe McGinty, while the Anchor Rock Club will offer a New York Night Train Soul Clap & Dance Off, hosted by DJ Jonathan Toubin.


American repertoire ballet launches its 2022-23 season with a mixed repertoire program, “Kaleidoscope,” Sept. 23 and 24 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 24 and 25 at 2 p.m. at the New Brunswick Center for the Performing Arts. The program will feature a collaboration between choreographer Da’ Von Doane (formerly of Dance Theater of Harlem) and visual artist Grace Lynne Haynes; a new work by ARB’s Ryoko Tanaka and pianist-composer Ian Howells inspired by Salvador Dali’s painting ‘Swans Reflecting Elephants’; “Bewitched” by Claire Davison, set to music by Ella Fitzgerald; and a classic pas de deux choreographed by ARB Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel. Ticket holders can also attend Q&A sessions with Von Doane and Haynes, Sept. 24 at 1 p.m.; and Tanaka and Howells, September 25 at 1 p.m.

The Buggé Ballet and the Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University in Union host the Liberty Hall Dance FestivalSeptember 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. featuring site-specific performances inspired by moments in history on the museum grounds by Megan Chu/Inimois Dance, Loretta D. Fois, Ariel Rivka Dance, Carolyn Dorfman Dance , General Mischief Dance Theatre, Julia Mayo, Kathak Dance Collective, Roxey Ballet Company, SarAika Movement Collective and Sydney B. Wiggins.

Robert Fripp, left, and David Singleton.


Progressive rock visionary Robert Fripp and David Singleton will bring a “speaking tour” titled “This Horrible Man and His Manager” to The Vogel at the Count Basie Center for the Arts at Red Bank, September 27 at 7:30 p.m. Singleton is indeed Fripp’s manager but has also worked as a producer and engineer on albums by Fripp’s band King Crimson and others, and has performed under his own name and the pseudonym The Vicar.

• Kelly Ripa — who will publish her first book, “Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories,” on September 27 — will bring her book tour to Count Basie Arts Center at Red Bank, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. New Jersey Hall of Fame husband Mark Conseulos will appear with her. According to the book’s publisher, Dey Street Books/HarperCollins Publishers, “Live Wire” is “a sharp, funny and honest collection of real life stories”.

Singer and actress Idina Menzel will be signing copies of his children’s book, “Loud Mouse: How a Little Mouse Found Her Big Voice…” to Bookends bookstore in Ridgewood, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m. Menzel wrote the book with his sister, Cara Menzel (Idina simplified her name by removing the “t”), which will also be there to sign; Cara is a retired elementary school teacher and writer.


Sylvana Joyce and C. Robert Smith of the band, Sylvana Joyce & the Moment, co-wrote the music for “The Last Match: A Pro Wrestling Rock Musical” (yes, a musical ensemble in the world of professional wrestling), that the Jersey City Theater Center will present at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, September 26 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.



The Monmouth Arts organization, founded 50 years ago, will celebrate the anniversary with a golden celebration at the Garden at the Blu Grotto in Oceanport on September 23, with honorees including E Street Band member and solo artist Jake Clemons, “The Sopranos” actor Vincent Pastore, chef David Burke and restaurateur Marilyn Schlossbach, as well as the CentraState Healthcare System and the Monmouth County Junior League. The group The Moroccan Sheepherders will perform at the gala. Monmouth Arts supports arts activities of all kinds throughout the county.

As part of his “Healing with Music” series, Princeton University will present an evening described as “a conversation/concert exploring the role of music in brain injury recovery” in its Richardson Auditorium on September 29 at 7:30 p.m. Writer and host Clemency Burton-Hill (who survived a brain aneurysm in 2020), neurosurgeon Christopher Kellner and writer Maria Popova will discuss the topic, with violinist Alexi Kenney playing “music that played a part crucial in (Burton-Hill’s) continued recovery journey,” according to the Princeton University Concerts website.

Groups such as Birmingham Six and Broken Shillelaghs and dance groups from Emerald Isle School of Dance and Shades of Green School of Dance will be among the performers at the 31st Annual Ancient Order of Hibernians. Irish Autumn Festival, taking place on Olde New Jersey Avenue in North Wildwood, September 23-25. Other attractions will include a bagpipe display (at Bill Henfrey Park), Irish dancing lessons (at Elks Lodge), souvenirs and Irish food, and a parade (September 25).


“Scabies” at Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union. (Until September 25)

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

“You shall not” presented by Thinkery & Verse at St. John the Evangelist Church in New Brunswick. (Until October 14)

“American Stories: Gifts from the Jersey City Museum Collection” at the Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Until December 30)

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

We need your help!


Since its launch in September 2014,, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without subscription fees or paywalls. Its continued existence depends on the support of members of this scene and art lovers in the state. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to via PayPal, or by sending a check payable to at 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.

Willie J. Johnson