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Hundreds Gathered For New Jersey Performing Arts Center's International Jazz Day Event Including Newark Mayor Baraka

Hundreds Gathered For New Jersey Performing Arts Center's International Jazz Day Event Including Newark Mayor Baraka

Courtesy Norman DeShong


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The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) hosted a free musical celebration in honor of International Jazz Day 4/30 featuring performances by 100+ young New Jersey musicians with special guest Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. Co-produced by NJPAC, City Verses, and Jazz House Kids, this popular concert unites youth musicians from NJPAC's City Verses jazz and poetry initiative, NJPAC's Jazz for Teens ensembles featuring James Moody Jazz Orchestra and The George Wein Scholars Ensemble, Jazz House Big Band, and local high schools. Hosted by WBGO Radio's Sheila Anderson aka “Queen of the Hang", International Jazz Day in Newark highlights the power of jazz as a force for freedom and creativity, promotes intercultural dialogue through respect and understanding, and unites people from all corners of the globe.

“This marks NJPAC's largest International Jazz Day celebration to date," explains Mark Gross, Director of Jazz instruction and Artistic Director of Jazz for City Verses at NJPAC. “After two years of performing virtually, we are all ready to celebrate jazz together live and in person on the NJPAC stage. It is thrilling to provide a platform for community to join hands and support the next generation of jazz stars from the Greater Newark area.”

Participants Included

  • Opening Remarks by WBGO Radio Host Sheila Anderson
  • Science Park High Big Band
  • Jazz House Big Band
  • NJPAC’s City Verses Jazz and Poetry Ensembles
  • NJPAC’s Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens Ensembles: James Moody Jazz Orchestra and The George Wein Scholars Ensemble
  • Mayor Ras Baraka (backed by Mark Gross Quartet)
  • Arts High Afro-Latin Big Band

About International Jazz Day

In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30 as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. International Jazz Day is chaired and led by UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay and legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz. The Institute is the nonprofit charged with planning, promoting and producing this annual celebration. International Jazz Day is the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month, which draws public attention to jazz and its extraordinary heritage throughout April. In December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly formally welcomed the decision by the UNESCO General Conference to proclaim April 30 as International Jazz Day. The United Nations and UNESCO now both recognize International Jazz Day on their official calendars. Celebrated with thousands of concerts and jazz-related programming around the globe each year on April 30, International Jazz Day brings together countries and communities on all seven continents to honor the international art form of jazz, highlighting its important role in encouraging dialogue, combating discrimination and promoting human dignity. #jazzday JazzDay.com

About Jazz House Kids

For 19 years, Jazz House Kids has used America’s original musical art form- jazz- to transform lives by helping young people ages 8-19 gain an artistic edge through music, mentoring, education and apprenticeship. The Jazz House Kids builds tomorrow’s community leaders and global citizens, and serves all students regardless of their financial circumstances. The organization produces the largest free music event in the NYC region, the MONTCLAIR JAZZ FESTIVAL, attracting over 25,000 people, with Artistic Director, seven-time GRAMMY Award-winning bassist Christian McBride.


The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, N.J., is America’s most diverse performing arts center, and the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey – where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state’s and the world’s best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted nearly 10 million individuals (including over 1.9 million students and families) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. NJPAC.org

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