Each year since 1976, the New Jersey Jazz Society has presented Jazzfest, one of the best and oldest mainstream jazz festivals in the entire northeast. This year is no exception as this popular jazz festival serves up nine hours of great music in the air conditioned comfort of two concert halls plus outdoor entertainment, a food court and vendors selling everything from hard-to-find CDs to crafts and interesting merchandise. Featuring the Tony DeSare Trio plus six other swinging jazz ensembles, Jazzfest will take place on the campus of the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, New Jersey on Saturday, June 16th from Noon to 9:00 p.m. Proceeds from the festival go to support the many educational programs of NJJS including scholarships for young students studying jazz at New Jersey colleges.
The New Jersey Jazz Society will honor Bill Boyle, CEO of Boyle Hotels Management Group which owns properties in Morristown, Westfield and Murray Hill. Mr. Boyle, who has been a longtime supporter of Jazzfest and regularly presents jazz artists in his restaurants, will be honored at the start of the evening concert.
The afternoon lineup for Jazzfest includes a Tribute to the great Stephane Grappelli with the Jon Burr Trio and special guest vocalist Lynn Stein. Burr, who played bass for many years with the legendary jazz violinist, will be joined by guitarist Howard Alden and teenaged fiddle player Jonathan Russell.
Opening the festival at noon will be the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra which is dedicated to performing the music of Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong and other giants of the Swing Era. On the second stage, the award-winning jazz accordion player Eddie Monteiro will lead his Shades of Brazil group which includes guitarist Paul Meyers and drummer Vanderlei Pereira.
Also on the afternoon bill will be a special tribute to Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan and Louis Prima with the ever popular Swingadelic.
In the food and vendor court, the trad sounds of Emily Asher’s Garden Party will fill the air and the virtuoso trombonist will be joined by Dan Levinson on reeds, Bria Skonberg on Trumpet, Jared Engel on Banjo and Wycliffe Gordon on Sousaphone.
The evening concert kicks off at 6:00 p.m. with the exciting sounds of Andy Farber’s Swing Mavens featuring the young vocalist Champian Fulton. Although still in her early 20’s, Fulton is earning a reputation as one of the best new jazz singers in the business. Headlining the evening concert is the great Tony DeSare with his trio. Often compared to Frank Sinatra, DeSare has emerged as one of the most popular young jazz vocalists in the country.
Most of the music takes place in two venues, Dolan Hall in the Annunciation Center and the Octagon Theatre right next door. As an extra bonus, there will be a variety of vendors offering a wide selection of food, hard to find records, jazz CDs, art and crafts of all kinds. Admission to the craft and food court is free to the public.
Jazzfest is made possible through the generous support of Toyota of Morristown, Riker Danzig, the Star-Ledger, WBGO Jazz88, PNC Wealth Management, Boyle Hotels, Hot House Magazine and the Madison Arts and Culture Alliance. The Best Western Morristown Inn is the official festival hotel and offers a special discount room rate for attendees of the festival. The Morristown Inn is located just two miles from the College. For reservations, call 973-540-1700.
The College of Saint Elizabeth is on Route 124 (2 Convent Road) just a couple miles east of Route 287 in Morris Township, New Jersey. Tickets for Jazzfest are only $55.00 in advance, and $70.00 at the gate. New Jersey Jazz Society members enjoy a special rate available through the website. Full time students with valid ID are only $10.00 at the gate. Parking is free and train travel is easy with a station right at the college gate. The gates open at 11:30 a.m. and the music begins at noon. For more information on tickets and directions visit the New Jersey Jazz Society website (www.njjs.org) or call 1-908-273-7827.