Annual West Orange Jazz Festival at OSPAC 2023

Annual West Orange Jazz Festival Returns to the Beautiful OSPAC Venue for 2023

One more time, the Annual West Orange Jazz Festival returns to the Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center (OSPAC) and is presented by Pleasant Valley Productions. This all day, outdoor West Orange Jazz Festival will be on Saturday, September 23rd and run from 2-9 pm. Pleasant Valley  Productions’ Board Member Lynette Sheard in conjunction with Gregory Burrus Productions curated another lineup of stellar musicians for the 2023 season. You are invited to 4 Boland Drive in West Orange NJ to experience a beer and wine garden, numerous food vendors and many community activities. 

Experience the ultimate jazz extravaganza, featuring a diverse lineup of world-class musicians, spanning many generations of jazz. This is a must-attend event for all jazz enthusiasts seeking to tantalize their listening palates. Arrive early and don’t miss out on the following stellar lineup.

Mecaden McCune Trio

The future of Jazz segment is being led by this Jazz House Kids’ performer and freshman at Montclair State University. His excellence and dedication is exemplified and acknowledged by the jazz community as Mecaden McCune is the most recent recipient of the James Moody Scholarship. Recently awarded at the 2023 Montclair Jazz Festival by James Moody’s widow, Linda Moody, Jazz House Kids and the Community Foundation of New Jersey. For his West Orange Jazz Festival debut, this young, extremely proficient, rising star drummer will lead his trio on stage featuring another set of rising stars, Maplewood pianist Ben Collins-Siegel and bassist Sam Konin. This is the future of jazz so you don’t want to miss this performance.

Carlos Frias and Circulo Social

Our Latin Jazz segment will be led by percussionist and vocalist, Carlos Frias and his stellar band of exciting musicians. With roots in the Dominican Republic Carlos Frias is a singer songwriter, visual artist, drummer, percussionist and the front man of latin jazz and world music, band Carlos Frías & Circulo Social. They have captivated audiences across Northern NJ at many popular venues including Crossroads, Suzy Ques, Hat City and Abuja International, South Orange  amongst many other venues. They have also recently earned the honor of opening for the legendary Tito Puente Jr. in Woodbridge NJ and were selected to kick off the Patterson NJ Jazz Festival.  

JD Warren & the Rudiment

Our rising stars segment will be led by JD Warren & the Rudiment. All we can say is folks are standing up and taking notice of this very exciting group that is taking the music world by storm. With their extraordinary talented performers, they are making a huge impact both globally and locally. Cofounder and drummer Jeremy Warren recently wowed over 2,000 people in the recent Patterson Jazz Festival, delighted over 90,000 in attendance at Hip Hop Al Parque 2023 in South America and is first call drummer for many top notched seasoned professionals. Co -Founder Dermel Warren is always making her mark when she performs as he has recently in South Orange Performing Art Center (SOPAC) with the renowned Valerie Simpson, toured with the late Sergio Davis, Mel Waiters and has opened for artists such as The Manhattans, Shirley Brown, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Bobby Womack, and Lenny Williams amongst others.Add in the other heavy hitters Gil Defay-trumpet, Ansy Defay-tenor sax, Joel Desroaches-piano, and Ben Rubens on bass and you will be mesmerized by JD Warren & the Rudiment.

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Nat Adderley Jr. Quartet

Experience the genius of Grammy Nominated Pianist and Songwriter, Nat Adderley Jr. With a career spanning many decades with over two decades as Luther Vandross’ songwriter and then collaborations with industry icons like Beyonce and Aretha Franklin, Nat Adderley Jr. is a true legend in the world of jazz and R&B. Drawing inspiration from his R&B and jazz lineage, which includes his family, the legendary brothers Cannonball Adderley, a multi-instrumentalist, Cannonball is best-known for his work on alto saxophone and for his recordings with Miles Davis and Cornetist Nat Adderley who played and toured internationally with Lionel Hampton and worked with Kenny Clarke, Wes Montgomery, and Walter Booker amongst others. Nat Adderley, Jr. has also showcased his talents on Broadway, working with renowned artists like Tony winner Andre DeShields.

From sold-out shows at prestigious theaters to captivating audiences across the globe, Nat Adderley Jr. is a name that continues to captivate and inspire. Don’t miss the chance to witness his extraordinary talents in person with his band featuring bassist Belden Bullock, drummer Dwayne “Cook” Broadnax and saxophonist, flutist Mike Lee.  

Generations of Jazz – Leonieke Scheuble Quintet

Leonieke Scheuble’s Generations of Jazz segment is led by jazz pianist and organist Leonieke Scheuble. With Generations of Jazz Band she regularly performs with experienced musicians from ages 21-95. This Generations of Jazz ensemble will be live on stage at OSPAC led by 21 year old pianist Leonieke Scheuble leading a number of veteran musicians. Her quintet features Ilya Lushtak on guitar and vocals who has played with such greats as Hank Jones, Barry Harris, Cedar Walton, Jimmy Cobb, Frank Wess and numerous others. Bassist Bill Crow at 98 has performed with Roy Haynes, Stan Getz’s, Gil Evans, Marian McPartland, Gerry Mulligan, Zoot Sims, Dizzy Gillespie and more. Percussionist Chuggy Carter has traveled around the world and has performed with Donny Hathaway at Carnegie Hall during the Newport Jazz Festival and with Patti Labelle at the Metropolitan Opera House. Finally Nick Scheuble has established a reputation as both a first rate Jazz drummer, Latin percussionist, and has an expertise in early New Orleans jazz. This has enabled him to tour much of the United States with The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra – a premiere American orchestra formed at The Juilliard School that has served as Ambassador of Goodwill for the United States.  Government. Nick has also performed extensively in Europe and alternated residence between the Netherlands and The U.S. Nick has worked with an impressive list of artists such as  Wynton Marsalis, Ray Barretto, Dave Valentin, Chico Mendoza, Peter Bernstein, Bill Crow, Vince Giordano, Mike LeDonne amongst others. This soulful Generations of Jazz ensemble will have you swinging hard with tunes from over a century of great jazz.

Ty Stephens Jazz and the SoulJaazz

A consummate multi-talented entertainer and performer, Ty Stephens has performed around the world, gaining an international audience with a cool, urban-tinged adult-contemporary sound, based on jazz, funk, and R&B. He has appeared on Broadway in the original productions of Sophisticated Ladies and Marilyn, An American Fable. He has recorded with industry legends Harry Belafonte, Peggi Lee, dance music icon Dan Hartmann, disco pioneer Nile Rogers (Beavis & Butt-Head), master drummer Baba Olatunji, renowned trumpeter Chuck Mangione, singer Gwen McCrae, Def Jam premier artist Alyson Williams, among others. 

Appearing on stage with Ty Stephens will be:

Composer/Arranger/Conductor Richard Cummings, Jr., on piano, was musical director for the legendary Harry Belafonte for nearly two decades, and has performed and recorded with Mr. Belafonte, as well as Diane Reeves, Letta Mbulu, Hugh Masakela, Wayne Shorter, and the great Jon Lucien, among others. 

Bassist Ron “Rondew” Monroe, who served as Associate Producer on Ty Stephens’ “Aquarian Mind” CD and has performed and recorded with notables Pharoah Sanders, Chico Hamilton, George Benson, Tito Puente, Jimmy Witherspoon, Amel Larieux, Dave Koz, Vanessa Rubin, Cece Winans and Roy Ayers.  

Drummer Tony Lewis’ a Bronx at the age of 16, won a spot with The McDonald’s Jazz Band and performed on “The Merv Griffin Show” with jazz titan, Dizzy Gillespie.

Tony has toured, performed, and recorded with such music luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Sting, Little Richard, Sam & Dave, Cindy Lauper, The Temptations, Craig Harris, Bob Baldwin, Me’Shell N’degOcello.

Robert “R.T.” Taylor adds funky guitar to the mix. His credits include Beyonce, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, LL Cool J, Juels Santana, Robert Palmer, Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Billy Preston, Eddie Kendricks (Temptations) and McPhadden & Whitehead, among others.

Ty Stephens & (the) SoulJaazz have gained international recognition and fan support through live performances, media interviews, and radio airplay.

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Tribute to Warren Battiste Lifetime Achievement

New Orleans native son Warren Battiste is another one of those unsung heroes in the annals of jazz who deserve more recognition for their contributing efforts to the cause of American music. Warren Battiste was born in New Orleans in 1925 and was taught to play the guitar by his father who was a banjo player at Preservation Hall. He was the first guitarist to play with Fats Domino on a regular basis and went on to play with Illinois Jacquet in New York. In New Orleans, Warren has performed at numerous jazz clubs on Bourbon Street, Preservation Hall, Snug Harbor, the Matador and many others. Warren also appeared in the film Shy People starring Jill Clayburgh and Barbara Hershey.  Warren has performed with fellow guitarist George Benson, organist Jimmy McGriff, and accompanied classic vocal groups such as The Platters and The Ink Spots to name a few. In 2000, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Jazz from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. At 98 years young, this Newark resident has played across numerous decades and is still actively playing and performing will be onstage at OSPAC. 

Charisa – The Violin Diva 

Charisa Rouse the Violin Diva, a contemporary jazz electric violinist and vocalist will bring her unique brand of jazz, soul, style, and swing to our stage! With her fusion of contemporary jazz and rockstar energy she creates a new contemporary sound for our listening pleasure. Testifying to her unique versatility, Charisa and her band have performed internationally with world renowned artists including Demi Lovato, Patti Labelle, Cyndi Lauper, and Vivian Green.

A progressive jazz artist and in-demand innovator, Charisa Rouse has collaborated with some dynamic artists across the musical borders, including Wynton Marsalis, Savion Glover, Quincy Jones, Kim Burrell, Common, Diana Krall, Musiq Soulchild and William McDowell, to name a few. As an opening act, she has set the stage ahead of Melissa Morgan and Freddie Jackson. In 2011, Charisa won grand prizes in both the McDonald’s Gospelfest Competition in Newark and the West Oak Lane Jazz Festival Competition in Philadelphia. She was also a semi-finalist in the Apollo Competition in front of an audience of 10,000.

Her other festival performances include the Baltimore African American Heritage Festival (Baltimore), the Lincoln Park Music Festival (Newark, NJ), JVC Jazz Festival, (NYC, NY), Soul of Brooklyn (Brooklyn, NY), and the Ailey Dance Company (NYC, NY), and many more cultural organizations around the world. She and her music director/drummer husband James “Biscuit” Rouse [of the Ms. Lauryn Hill band, and Kindred and the Family Soul], are both regular fixtures at New York City clubs and festivals. This will be a very special performance.

About the Venue:

Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center (OSPAC)

OSPAC, opened in 2001, was named in honor of Oskar Schindler a Sudeten German Industrialist who saved nearly 1,200 European Jews during the Holocaust. Larry Pantirer of Millennium Homes, working closely with Town Councilman John Skarbnik, donated the amphitheater to the Township. Pantirer’s father Murray was one of the many who were saved. The story was chronicled in the Hollywood blockbuster film Schindler’s List.

Located at 4 Boland Drive, West Orange, N.J. and nestled next to historic Crystal Lake, the facility features an open air amphitheater built into the natural slope of the land. 

Come Join Us

We welcome you to enjoy world-class entertainers, a beer and wine garden, food vendors, and more. Free parking and indoor restrooms are available. Remember to bring your own chair. General admission is $10. $20 premium seating is available, including a pre-set chair in the front of the stage. Special group rates are available for groups of 10 or more. The rain date is September 24th.

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