Where to Find Jazz In Newark
Known as one of the greatest jazz cities in the world, Newark has been and remains a major creative hub for honing the best talent in the jazz genre. With roots in the African-American communities of New Orleans around the turn of the 20th century, jazz is a blend of blues, ragtime and Afro-Latino rhythm. In the 1920’s, now known as the Jazz Age, jazz became America’s major form of musical expression, and Newark turned into a cultural hotspot for the genre.
Newark’s jazz history includes such greats as Sarah Vaughan, Wayne Shorter, James Moody and Christian McBride. Today, Newark remains deeply rooted in jazz music through popular venues and events across the city, and is a surefire destination for fans of the genre. Ready to dive in? Here’s your guide to the must-visit spots for jazz in Newark, the undisputed jazz capital of America. The area of the city now known as the Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District was the home of a vibrant neighborhood of happening jazz clubs known as “The Coast.”
Newark’s jazz history includes such greats as Sarah Vaughan, Wayne Shorter, James Moody and Christian McBride. Today, Newark remains deeply rooted in jazz music through popular venues and events across the city, and is a surefire destination for fans of the genre. Ready to dive in? Here’s your guide to the must-visit spots for jazz in Newark, the undisputed jazz capital of America.
Clement’s Place, 15 Washington St.: Named for Rutgers-Newark professor Clement A. Price, this intimate, cabaret-style venue hosts free monthly jazz jams sponsored by the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers-Newark
Jazz Night at St. Joseph Plaza, The Priory, 233 W Market St. This Newark institution comes alive on Friday nights with a full range of jazz performances featuring various vocalists and instrumentalists, a soul food buffet and a mature crowd.
Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers-Newark, Dana Library (4th floor), 185 University Ave.: Founded in 1952, the Institute is the largest and most comprehensive archive of jazz and jazz-related materials in the US. It includes more than 150,000 recordings, 6,000 books, and treasures like one of Miles Davis’s trumpets and Curly Russell’s bass.
Jazz in the Garden, Newark Museum, 49 Washington St.: Each summer, the Newark Museum hosts a live jazz lunch hour in its gorgeous great lawn setting behind the Museum. Bring your bag lunch or visit one of the food vendors as you soak in the warm weather and hot tunes.
T.D. Moody Jazz Festival, NJPAC, 1 Center St.: NJPAC’s signature annual festival is named for jazz legend James Moody and features a full schedule of not-to-be-missed all-star concert tributes. Past performers include Chris Botti, Dave Holland and Dianne Reeves.
Jimenez Tobacco, 31 Liberty St.: Truly a cigar smokers paradise, Jimenez is a cozy lounge with great cocktails and live jazz on alternate Tuesday nights. Sit back, relax, and choose from more than twenty types of hand rolled cigars, each with a signature blend, while you listen to classic jazz standards by the fireplace.
Jazz in the Stacks, Newark Public Library locations: This new concert series brings live jazz, courtesy of NJPAC’s Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens to Newark Public Library locations across the city. This free series of performances feature gifted young musicians playing jazz classics.
WBGO, 54 Park Pl.: Newark’s boasts one of America’s premier public radio stations that also happens to be a world-renowned and award-winning jazz radio station. Music aficionados can get in the groove by tuning to 88.3 FM locally or streaming the station globally.
Dorthaan’s Place, Nico Kitchen and Bar, 1 Center St.: Newark’s First Lady of Jazz, Dorthaan Kirk, has been a key figure at WBGO Radio since its inception. During NJPAC’s Moody Jazz Fest, she hosts Dorthaan’s Place, a jazz brunch featuring internationally known performers in a world-class venue.
Jazz Vespers at Bethany, Bethany Baptist Church, 117 W. Market St.: Every first Saturday from October through June, Bethany Baptist Church hosts “Jazz Vespers,” a free opportunity to worship through jazz featuring notable musicians and vocalists.