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Jazz Night featuring Norman Mann and Rafiki at Monsignor Linder Plaza aka the Priory

October 6 @ 7:00 pm 11:00 pm EDT

As you can see and hear, Norman Mann curates a stellar list of musicians that perform some incredible sets. Part of this may be hinted at in the band name Rafiki. Norman has been quoted as saying, “Rafiki is a Swahili word that translates to English as ‘friend.’” So now, let’s meet the friends in the band.

Norman Mann — Bandleader — Percussionist

Norman Mann, an alumni and Football Hall of Famer of Weequahic High School is widely respected within the community and was honored to perform at the East Orange Library’s tribute to Amiri Baraka.

Norman, along with Greg Salandis, are widely known for their past partnership at Skippers Plane Street Pub in November 2007. Skippers was a very popular spot in Newark located on University Ave and was a welcomed addition to Newark’s nightlife. It was a place where music, food, drink, and conversation were the rage and occurred in a comfortable, friendly environment. Skippers featured many of the Tri-State’s musicians and singers. Norman Mann, as a musician, plays congas, percussion and also sings. He has appeared with drummers Greg Buford, Alvester Garnett, and singers Ty Stephens, Joy Topping Mann, Tomoko Ohno, and Dwight West along with one of Jersey’s top organists and keyboardists, Mel Davis, to name a few. 

Norman and his bands have performed in numerous venues around Northern New Jersey such as Montclair’s Trumpets Jazz Club, Newark’s Priory Jazz Club, City of Orange’s Mr. Jays, Jazz In Spiotta Park and Jazz On Sloan in South Orange, NJ. Norman is the CEO of G Mann Productions, has produced jazz shows at many of the Tri-State area clubs and lately has been producing events in Irvington’s Cricket Club.  

Joy Topping Mann (aka Ife Basim)

Joy Topping Mann (aka Ife Basim) – In her early days as a Contemporary Christian artist, songwriter and arranger, Joy Topping-Mann co-produced three CD projects of original music which she performed nationally and internationally with her band ‘Gifts.’ She has opened for other well-known Christian artists, was signed with Jamm Records, a Los Angeles, California record company, and has had her music played on radio stations throughout the U.S.

As a producer and promoter of special events, Joy has received local acclaim for the Annual Women’s History Month Celebrations held each March at the St. Joseph’s Plaza (formerly known as the Priory) located in Newark, New Jersey. These uniquely memorable experiences have focused on honoring extraordinary women for their outstanding accomplishments, Audiences have been treated to virtuoso performances by the Tri-state’s most talented artists.

As a jazz vocalist, Joy’s rich melodic voice and unique phrasing take the listener back to the days of classic jazz, invoking shades of Sarah Vaughan and hints at the daring of Billie Holiday. Warmly embraced by enthusiastic audiences, she has appeared at several venues throughout the Tri-state area.


Christopher Dean Sullivan — Bass

Christopher Dean Sullivan – “a bassist who is authoritative and bluesy while bending notes that honor his affection for legends such as Slam Stewart as well as Ray Brown.” ~ Steve Monroe, Jazz Journalists Association

The critically acclaimed Chicago Ill born, Pittsburgh PA raised bassist Christopher Dean Sullivan is well traveled throughout the U.S. and abroad. Christopher started his career in Pittsburgh , PA. After a few years in Germany he returned to Pittsburgh and honed his craft as a bassist during his time with the Jazz Workshop Inc., located in the Homewood district, under the direction of Harold Young Sr, and the Archives, located in the Hill district, developed by Errol “Mobutu” Reynolds (Grant Green, Johnny Lytle), where Chris in his words stated …“I got the honor to perform with guitarist Grant Green on three different occasions, through my association with the Archives.”

Chris quickly became known for his own unique approach to playing the bass. He formed local commercial groups that would go on to open up concerts for such bands of notoriety as the Ohio Players, The Bar-Kays, New Birth, The Tavares, and others. Chris decided to expand his musical horizons and started performing with the jazz notables of the Pittsburgh, PA region; Joe Harris (Dizzy Gillespie), Roger Humphries (Horace Silver), Nathan Davis (Pitt University), arranger Arthur Powell, Pete Henderson, Larry Mcgee, Nelson Harrison (Count Basie), J. C. Moses (Eric Dolphy), Geri Allen, Carl Arter, Jothan Callins (Sun Rah), and others. Soon he achieved the opportunity to perform and travel with music notables Lou Soloff, Jimmy Owens, Johnny Lytle, and others for a number of years before locating to New York City.

While residing in the New York region Christopher Dean Sullivan has had the opportunity to share the stage in performance and/or record with Archie Shepp, Sheila Jordan, Carter Jefferson, Yusef Lateef, Odean Pope, Stanley Jordan, Freddie Hubbard, Billy Hart, Christian McBride, Stanley Jordan,

Sonny Fortune, Horace Parlan, Carl Grubbs, Irene Reid, Richie Cole, Jon Faddis, Vanessa Rubin, Eddie Henderson, Bob Gluck, Charli Persip, Henry Grimes, Pete Seeger, Roy Campbell, Della Griffin, Barbara Sfraga, Joe Lovano, Cotton Club All Star Band, Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers, Israel “Cachao” Lopez, Stanley Turrentine, just to name a few.


Others TBD

Norman Mann and Rafiki — South Orange Live Music Concerts

For me, booking this stellar cast of musicians every year means good times and great live music performances. Whether Norman Mann and Raiki are performing jazz originals and/or standards, you are guaranteed to be tapping your feet while dancing and swinging in your seat. These seasoned veterans combined have over 150 years in the entertainment business, creating a wealth of experience from numerous performances around the US and across the World. Hence, I invite you to check out the band Norman Mann and Rafiki and I guarantee you a really great time. 

Gregory Burrus Productions


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Priory Venue

233 West Market Street
Bewark, New Jersey 07103 United States
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