Stunning Line-Up For James Moody Jazz Festival

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A reunion of James Brown band members, another of GRP label greats and tributes to Cole Porter and Sarah Vaughan are all part of the fifth annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival, taking place in New Jersey next month.

The festival is named after the late, famed saxophonist, who was a graduate of Newark’s East Side High School, and features an extensive range of events from 6-20 November at the New Jersey Performing Arts Centre (NJPAC).

The evening dedicated to the Godfather of Soul, Get on Up: A James Brown Celebration!, will take place on 18 November. It’s overseen by Brown expert and renowned bassist Christian McBride and will feature performances by esteemed vocalists such as Bettye LaVette, Sharon Jones and Lee Fields as well as a gathering of alumni from JB’s band.

They include Fred Wesley, ‘Pee Wee’ Ellis, Robert ‘Mousey’ Thompson and the octogenarian Danny ‘The Capeman’ Ray, who famously introduced Mr. Brown’s shows for many years and performed the celebrated role of throwing his cape over him during his stage show.

Other highlights include The Brubeck Songbook (6th), Cole Porter From A to Z: Celebrating 125 Years (13th), the Sarah Vaughan Celebration with McBride and his trio and vocalists Dianne Reeves, Lisa Fischer and Sheila Jordan (19th)  and an International Jazz Vocal Competition in Vaughan’s name on the 20th.

Another mouthwatering evening for jazz fans will be the GRP Jazz Revisited show on 17 November honouring Larry Rosen, the co-founder of the GRP label, who died last year. The concert will reunite many GRP notables and offers an incredible line-up featuring Lee Ritenour, David Sanborn, the Yellowjackets, Phil Perry and GRP co-founder Dave Grusin.

“To have a festival that runs the gamut from Cole Porter to James Brown is something we’re truly proud of,” says NJPAC executive VP and executive producer David Rodriguez. “The goal is to show diversity, whether it’s ethnic diversity or diversity of genres. We don’t look at jazz as something that occupied a particular timeline; it’s not a museum to music. We’re looking at the continuing evolution of jazz.

More information on the festival is available here.

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