NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Founded by Allen McGriff eight years ago, the New Brunswick Jazz Festival began as a two-day event held at the Progressive Lodge on Hale Street.
McGriff said he founded the festival because of a "lack of jazz music being played," and that one of the primary purposes of the festival is to "give artists a venue to play."
And McGriff's efforts have resulted in giving artists seven different venues to play at this year's festival, which kicks off tonight at three of them.
All events on Friday and Saturday are free of charge, while the main event on Sunday at the Hyatt Regency hotel costs $55 for general admission tickets.
Each night of the event takes place at multiple different restaurants, and each features a different jazz musician or group.
Community members will begin their venue-hopping on Friday night at Makeda's Restaurant located at 338 George Street and enjoy happy hour and the music stylings of Curtis Lundy from 5-8pm.
Then the action moves to Christopher's at the Heldrich Hotel located from 8pm to midnight for a Jazz Festival Kick-Off Celebration and Dance Party hosted by the NJ Chapter of Chicago Steppers, with Valerie Adams and the New Dimensions Band.
Also, the John Bianculli Trio with vocalist Jackie Jones will be playing jazz at Due Mari restaurant on Albany Street from 10pm-1am.
Saturday, October 6 of the Jazz Festival will offer shows at four different venues to check out music. First, Madam Pat Tandy will perform at Delta's Restaurant on Dennis St. from 7- 10pm.
Next, from 8-11pm jazz enthusiasts have the option of listening to the James White Band at Makeda's or or hearing Lady CeCe at Panico's restaurant on Church St.
Closing out the festival on Saturday at 10pm, you can hear jazz music by The Gordon White Band at Tula Lounge located at 47 Easton Avenue.
The main event takes place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Sunday, beginning at 1pm with an incredible line-up of musicians:
At 1pm, Radam Schwartz & Conspiracy for Positivity kick off the show, featuring vocalist Carrie Jackson. At 2:30pm the JT Project performs, followed by Bob Baldwin & Friends featuring Kim Waters with Chembo Corniel and vocalist Alyson Williams.
The final act of the day is Roy Ayers at 6pm. Tickets are available on the online service TicketWeb.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.