The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM have announced the inaugural James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival, a weeklong celebration of jazz and the musical legacy of longtime Newark resident James Moody (pictured above). Bassist and composer Christian McBride serves as the artistic adviser of the Festival, which will take place October 15-21, 2012, at the Arts Center and various nearby venues.
“It is an incredible honor to help usher in a new jazz tradition at NJPAC,” said McBride. “We are assembling a spectacular group of top talent that is going to bring the house down, as well as embody the legacy of New Jersey’s own jazz icon and our friend, Mr. James Moody. I am thrilled to be part of it.
The Moody Festival will be highlighted by two mainstage concerts: “For Love of Moody: A Jazz Celebration” featuring George Benson, The Manhattan Transfer, David Sanborn and others; and “Miles Davis and Gil Evans: Still Ahead,”—an all-star re-creation of the landmark original Gil Evans arrangements of the classic Miles Davis recordings Porgy and Bess, Sketches of Spain and Miles Ahead—featuring trumpeters Terence Blanchard and Sean Jones, an orchestra directed by Vince Mendoza, and others.
In addition to the headliner concerts, the Festival will also feature the inauguration of The Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition and the world premiere of a new jazz musical for children, Magic Tree House: A Night in New Orleans, based on the popular books by best-selling authorMary Pope Osborne.
“This is just very exciting for all of us,” said Linda Moody, the honoree’s widow. “Moody would be so thrilled with the whole idea. Newark was where his life was. He would also be surprised and probably would have said, ‘Why do they want to name a festival after me?’”
“This Festival will give Newark and the Arts Center the chance to take center stage in the jazz universe and pay homage to one of the great men of music,” said NJPAC President and CEO John Schreiber, a longtime friend of the Festival’s namesake. “Jazz is the most democratic of musics. Great jazz demands collaboration, respect, listening and creativity among musicians. Moody exemplified all those traits in his life and his playing. The James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival will celebrate Moody’s lifelong spirit of collaboration and unconditional love for humanity.”
A donation will be made by the Festival to the CFNJ James Moody Jazz Scholarship Fund for Newark Youth.
For more information or to buy tickets, go to www.njpac.org. Festival tickets, available now, can also be purchased by telephone at 1-888-466-5722 or at the NJPAC Box Office at One Center Street in downtown Newark (open Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 6 p.m, and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.).