Jazz, Blues, and Art – Annual Activity Events List

By Gregory Burrus | Posted Thursday, March 2, 2017

Jazz, Blues, and Art All Around Our Towns – Support Live Music and Artists

It’s been stated that if you want a successful economy, you must have a talented population.  Well, one of the great benefits of living in Essex County, New Jersey is that there is a wealth of talent within this area.  Being right outside New York helps enhance the opportunities for the artist, the patron, and the audience.  Therefore, I get to attend many events throughout this area which is a hotbed of music and art.  Many professionals reside within Northern New Jersey, work in New York City, and of course travel in and out of our areas.  The professionals have the disposable income and the artists have the creative talent.  Having the professionals meet the artists is key to making it all successful.  Let’s not forget the great city of Philadelphia which is less than 1 hour and a half away via some folks’ driving.

Happening All Around Our Towns

In my travels, all around our towns, I always get asked what’s happening in music and art?  Because everybody’s watching their expenses, a key question that also comes up is what’s free or low cost?  Of course, with that comes what and where are the venues?  The where usually means hey - can I find some quality entertainment right here in Essex county?  Or since we are just 30 minutes away from New York City, folks often ask where can I find quality acts on my way home from work?  Well, since it’s the beginning of 2017, I decided to list out “some” what’s happening now and what’s coming in Jazz and Blues all around our towns in 2017.  Consider this like an annual introduction to Jazz, Blues, and Art close by in some of our towns.

Why – Live Music – Jazz, Blues and Art -The Mission

I am a big believer in supporting live music and art.  With a primary focus on what's happening in jazz and blues all around our towns, for the artist, the objective is to help them gain additional exposure and attract a larger set of fans.  I attend many events throughout the hotbeds of music and art in our towns.  Another goal is to help the Musician and Artist find local venues that they / you can perform in without having to travel the world.

On the other side, helping the venues gain knowledge of the musicians and the artist is also an objective which helps everyone.  This will in turn produce a win-win scenario, where the venue is happy to support the artist and providing more venues for the artist to perform in and demonstrate their skills.  Talking and promoting the venue also helps the artist and the musician increase their income.  I should also mention there are many sporadic, annual local community events that I always cover because they provide tremendous benefits to town residents.  Bottom line is this helps the audience have more places to see the artist and increase their enjoyment of the artist and musician.

How – Photography and Writing

Photography - As a form of communication and documentation, photographs play an important role in domestic, work, and recreational activities.  In our current world, it’s easy to see that photographs are present in all phases of our life.  I endeavor to support and bring further attention to the events mentioned above by documenting the activities via photography, photojournalism, writing and blogging for local sites / newspapers around New Jersey.  You can of course check out some of my photography here at Gregory Burrus Photography or http://facebook.com/gregoryburrus.

Articles / Blogging - While paper newspapers have declined, the need for news and what happens has increased dramatically.  Writing helps clarify the issues and helps others learn more.  Helping folks learn new things about your areas of interest is enlightening and just plain fun.  One of the places that I love to write for is Jersey Indie which is a NJ-centric website that showcases artists, businesses, and creative minds living and working throughout the Garden State.  Take a moment and check out my JI blogger Gregory Burrus blogposts here.  Take a look, as the site is a wealth of information.

Photojournalism – The result is when I have the pictures and the videos, I will endeavor to review the event and tell the story with the pictures and of course provide commentary that fits the event.  I find it works well in conveying additional information for future use and helps the musician and the artist tell their story even better.  This becomes important in that some folks are extremely talented but hate the idea of promoting themselves.  I am the first one to say give me a shout and I will do what I can to help get the word out when I can.  You can of course check out some of my photography here on the beautiful and informative Masconsumption Media.

That said, here’s a list of organizations, events, and activities in jazz, blues, and art for folks to enjoy for the upcoming months.

Ongoing Events and Activities 

I love the fact that some of the event leaders are clearly dedicated to their craft along with the folks that participate in their events.  For some events, they are truly history-in-the-making as we are watching some serious professionals make some truly great music and art.  At the same time, we are enjoying the growth of some of the best aspiring artists.  With that said, here’s some wonderful groups and activities to pay attention to in the upcoming months.

1.     North Jersey Blues Alliance -  Board Member Social Media Marketing

South Mountain International Blues Festival – 2nd Sunday in September

South Mountain International Blues Festival – 2nd Sunday in September

Focused on bringing you the totally free, family-friendly Annual South Mountain International Blues Festival., this event is supported with our annual North Jersey Blues Alliance Blues Muse Fundraiser in May.  I am the social media marketing maven and co-chair for the 2017 Blues Muse event which I hope everybody comes out to, of course.

2.     South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA) - Downtown After Sundown

Jazz Alley in Downtown After Sundown Live Music Series – May Thru Sept

Jazz Alley in Downtown After Sundown Live Music Series – May Thru Sept

I’m Manager / Promoter of the free Downtown After Sundown Concert.  Focused on bringing almost 80 live music events to downtown South Orange every summer weekend, this wildly popular Downtown After Sundown event happens every Friday and Saturday evening where bands play in two locations: Jazz Alley and Spiotta Park in South Orange, NJ every weekend from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  Hoping you stop by and enjoy some of the best live music happening all over town.

3.     Valley Arts District – Member

Hat City Kitchen, Valley Arts District, Orange, New Jersey – Home of Live Music

Hat City Kitchen, Valley Arts District, Orange, New Jersey – Home of Live Music

The Valley Arts District is focused on attracting, serving, and supporting artists and creative organizations to work and live in the Valley Arts District of Orange, NJ.  My objective is to attend events, have fun, and at the same time document the events and spread the word that great things are going on in town just about every day of the week.

I hit lots of events in the Valley Arts District, at Hat City kitchen which is a premier live music location for the Valley Arts District.  Hat City Kitchen always has something happening in the live music area, such as:

·       Al Gold – Blues Jams Afternoons at HCK, Bi-Weekly – Sun 3 PM. 
Blues Masters’ time to Jam. Show up and play.

·       Mike Lee – Jazz Jam, Weekly – Wed 8 PM.  Calling all jazz artists!
Come show off your skills on the Hat City Stage.

·       Taylor Moore – Open Mic Jokes & Notes Bi-Weekly Tue 8 PM. 
Come as a spectator or as a comedian ready to hit the stage!

·       Michael Reitman's – All Acoustic Open Mic Bi-Weekly  Tue 8 PM.  
Come show what you got.

There is also lots of special events happening every Friday and Saturday night, as Hat City books all types of music.  They have also partnered with SCOBAR Entertainment to bring in some top-notch Jazz performers, too.  This is not an exhaustive list, as there is so much more going on.

Another few places with some great events are:

·       Andy Lackow The Andy Lackow Monday Night Blues Jam @ SuzyQue's BBQBi-Weekly at SuzyQue’s, West Orange, NJ.  Come to experience a place to jam and have fun. 

·       Tuesdays – John Lee Trio and FriendsJazz, Weekly at West Orange. NJ,  Come listen to some of the best in jazz every Tuesday.

·       Thursdays – Bob DeVos – Bi-Weekly at Ricalton's Village Tavern, South Orange, NJ.  The Consummate Jazz Professional bringing in some of the best musicians.

In addition, there are many other venues close by all within, like, 20 minutes of each other around town that have some great jazz, blues, and art.

Gregory Burrus at Maplewood Art Walk and Music Fest

Gregory Burrus at Maplewood Art Walk and Music Fest

·       Art

o   1978 Arts Center, Maplewood, NJ

o   Gallery OVO, South Orange, NJ

o   Pierro Gallery, South Orange, NJ

o   ValleyArts Firehouse Gallery, Orange, NJ

o   West Orange Arts Council, West Orange, NJ

·       Music

o   DLV Lounge, Montclair, NJ – Music

o   Hat City Kitchen, Orange, NJ – Jazz, Blues 

o   Pappilion25, South Orange, NJ Jazz, R&B

o   Ruthie’s BBQ and Pizza, Montclair, NJ

o   Shanghai Jazz, Madison, NJ - Jazz

o   Southern Comfort Cafe, Orange, NJ

o   SuzyQue’s - Glenn Franke’s BigBand, West Orange, NJ

·       PACs

o   LUNA Stage Company, West Orange, NJ – Jazz Series

o   SOPAC, South Orange, NJ – All

Annual Events All Around Our Towns – Check Venue Websites for Exact Dates

·       Jan – Masconsumption Media – 4th Annual Valley Gala

·       Mar – 4th Annual Women’s History Month Celebration – Mar 31, 2017

·       May – Blues Muse – May 19, 2017

·       Jul – Maplewoodstock Event – Sat & Sun, Jul 7 – 8

·       Aug – Montclair Jazz Festival – Sat, Aug 13, 2017

·       Aug – Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival – Aug, 20, 2017

·       Sep – OSPAC Jazz and Brew Festival – Sep 2017 – Sat, Sep 2017

·       Sep – Play Day Festival - South Orange, South Orange, NJ - Sun 9/25

·       Sep – Maplewood Art Walk & Music Festival – Sun Sep 2017

·       Oct – SouthNext Festival - South Orange, NJ - Oct 6,7,8, 2017

·       Nov – Giants of Jazz – South Orange, NJ – Nov 2017

In Newark:

·       The Blues People International Festival

·       Clements Place NJPAC & Rutgers Institute of Jazz Jams

·       Newark Museum Jazz in the Garden Noontime Events

·       WBGO Gateway Plaza Lunch and Evening events

·       WBGO Radio Gallery Opening Artist Receptions

·       Priory Jazz Club, Newark, NJ

·       Bethany Jazz Vespers - Monthly

-      TD Moody Jazz Festival

Several Art Events:  

·       Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Art Museum and Gallery

·       CWOW Art Gallery

·       Newark Museum

·       NJPAC Art events

And don’t forget, there are many places just around the bend:

·       Robin’s Nest in Linden, NJ.  Nice cool spot with some serious music.

·       Moore’s Lounge in Jersey City.  Winard Harper keeping the Music where you live.

·       New Brunswick Jazz Project, which brings great jazz to Central Jersey and more.

All above is just a sampling of great places for Northern New Jersey Folks to perform and / or enjoy the jazz, blues, and art all around our towns.  Most of the events listed are free, so there’s no excuse to not come on out and have some fun and support live music.

About The Author

Gregory Burrus, Photojournalist, Blogger, Writer with HANDS Pat Morrissy, Jersey Indie, ValleyGirlNJ.

Gregory Burrus, Photojournalist, Blogger, Writer with HANDS Pat Morrissy, Jersey Indie, ValleyGirlNJ.

Gregory Burrus is a supporter of local businesses, community events, jazz, blues musicians, and local art exhibitions.  Gregory is a manager and promoter of the South Orange Village Center Alliance Downtown After Sundown Live Music Events, Board Member of the North Jersey Blues Alliance, Friend of the Valley Arts District in Orange, NJ and avid supporter of jazz, blues and art all around our towns and the Greater New York, New Jersey area.  On a regular basis, Gregory gets the word out through social media marketing, writing articles, blogging and photojournalism.

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