Montclair Jazz Festival: Support helps keep the beat
By MARK S. PORTER
For Montclair Local
Everything clicks in a good jazz group.
The rhythm section syncs, holding the tempo and adding percussive colorations as the solo instruments launch skyward and then, in turn, alight.
Behind the scenes of the upcoming Montclair Jazz Festival, everything clicks. This year, the Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary.
An ensemble of organizers, led by founder and President Melissa Walker and Artistic Director Christian McBride, and including numerous financial and logistical supporters and the Montclair municipal government, expects to deliver another acclaimed series of shows for the festival.
Extending for more than two weeks, the festival features a rich gumbo of musicians ranging from internationally known jazz stars to adept students. Numerous groups will perform in several locales, and there will be jazz-related cinema, story times for kids, and music instruction.
The festival launches in the 18 Label Street Studios with a dance party tonight, Friday, featuring McBride as D.J. Brother Mister, describing his alter ego as “some guy who likes old-school funk and soul.”
With events on almost every following day, the festival’s grand finale occurs from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10, in Nishuane Park.
“You have to have someone who says ‘Yes,’ so others will follow,” Walker said of Rhonda and Bob Silver.
Organizers cite the Silvers’ support as the key reason that the jazz festival in Nishuane Park, now in its 10th year, is free for attendees.
“We have this tag-line of “No tickets required,” said Bob Silver.
“Music is a talent that most schools don’t provide,” Silver said. “What Melissa and Christian do so selflessly is provide this top-notch training for the kids.”
During Tuesday’s gala, the Jazz House Kids lineup included Ella Brown on guitar and vocal, Destiny Diggs-Pinto on bass, Jonathan Galen on trombone, Galo Inga on piano, Tim Murphy on tenor saxophone, Claudia Nketia on vocals, Emily Springer on trombone, and Adam Wacks on drums.
Gesturing at the musicians, McBride said, “They are the backbone of our festival.”