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Jersey City Jazz Festival to Take Place June 1-4

originally published: 05/14/2023

Jersey City Jazz Festival to Take Place June 1-4

Stephane Wrembel

(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- The Jersey City Jazz Festival is back and better than ever for its 10th anniversary celebration from June 1-4, 2023. The festival will kick off with JC Jazz Nights on Thursday (6/1) and Friday (6/2) at various venues throughout the city. It will culminate in a two-day free outdoor festival on Saturday (6/3) and Sunday (6/4) at the newly renovated Exchange Place Plaza, presented by Exchange Place Alliance and produced by Riverview Jazz. The festival will also partner with the Bike JC Ward Tour on Sunday, June 5, and serve as its finish line along the Hudson Waterfront.

There is no shortage of talent for this year’s festival. Guitar lovers will be treated to performances by the incomparable Bill Frisell Trio (6/3), gypsy master Stephane Wrembel’s Django A GoGo (6/4), and Walter Parks & The Unlawful Assembly (6/2). Latin Jazz aficionados should be thrilled to hear Sonido Solar w/ legendary special guest Eddie Palmieri (6/3), the iconic Típica 73’s 50th anniversary party (6/1 White Eagle Hall), trombonist Doug Beavers Luna (6/4), as well as dance classes by Salsa Fever on2. Vocal fans won’t want to miss happy hour with Kate Curran & Ron Affif Duo (6/1), WBGO’s Lezlie Harrison (6/2), and the soulful Emily Braden (6/3). On Thursday (6/1) jazz buffs will dig T.K. Blue’s tribute to trombonists Benny Powell and Melba Liston “Shades of Melba and Benny”, and pianist Nick Masters will open with his trio.

The Jersey City Jazz Festival has once again partnered with NYC jazz club, Smalls Live, to present a lineup of straight-ahead jazz. The tented “club” stage will feature performances from pianist Miki Yamanaka, Spike Wilner’s “Ancient Aliens”, saxophonist Eric Wyatt’s Quartet feat. Jeff “Tain” Watts, and organist Akiko Tsuruga’s quartet featuring Jerry Weldon and Joe Magnarelli on Saturday June 3rd. On June 4th the pianist Jon Davis will lead a trio and trumpeter Philip Harper brings his “Pham Expression” ensemble.

The Jersey City Jazz Festival always presents a diverse slate of music and 2023 is no exception. There will be a Gospel on the Pier show Sunday (6/4) at noon by the great Joshua Nelson. Nelson has performed with such gospel greats as Albertina Walker, Kirk Franklin and Dorothy Norwood. On Friday (6/2) Nimbus Arts Center and Cool Vines present Winard Harper’s Jazz Tap Extravaganza featuring dancers Jason Samuels Smith, AC Lincoln, and Megha Vadehra. The innovative saxophonist Tony Malaby will hold fort at Nucky’s at Hudson Hound on Thursday and Friday late nights with his Turnpike Trio. Saturday (6/3) will feature performances from vibraphonist Nikara Warren’s “Black Wall Street” and the Radam Schwartz Organ Big Band. Saturday evening will feature two post-festival events at the Hyatt House situated right at the festival - a jam session run by guitarist Charlie Sigler and a rooftop performance from Martin Kelley Affinity. The Sugar Tone Brass Band will be marching on the starting and finishing lines of the Bike JC Ward Tour Sunday 6/4. The event will conclude with a post-fest jam session at Moore’s Place on Monticello Ave.

“This year’s festival is so exciting for many reasons”, says Riverview Jazz director Bryan Beninghove. “We are at a new permanent location, which is unbelievable - the views, the transportation, the amenities - just awesome. We’re going to feature four days of unique high quality performances, a lot for free and some ticketed events that can help support our music community. This is the first time since the pandemic that we have been able to match the scope of the festival as it was pre-Covid. A perfect way to celebrate 10 years!”

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"We are so pleased to support and provide a new home for the amazing Jersey City Jazz Festival in the newly renovated Exchange Place Plaza," said Elizabeth Cain, Executive Director of the Exchange Place Alliance.  "We happily welcome Jersey City residents, their friends and jazz fans from everywhere to enjoy the totally reimagined plaza."

The Jersey City Jazz Festival began in 2013 as the Riverview Jazz Festival and spent the first 5 years in Riverview-Fisk Park, in the Heights neighborhood of Jersey City. It has since become a city-wide event attracting thousands of local and global attendees.  Riverview Jazz is a Jersey City-based non-profit that produces many exciting events year-round including the Latin Jazz/Salsa series Pierfest and Música Hoboken. 

“It’s really great to have our ticketed events back into the fold,” says Beninghove. “It is so important to support our local venues and put a shine on all the work they do all year long. We strongly encourage attendees to check out some of the JC Jazz Nights shows and to purchase VIP tickets. The intimate vibes of the club experience will be incredible and every ticket sale/ donation helps us keep the festival free to the public. It’s not many festivals where you can get this close to these amazing artists.”

Admission to the two-day outdoor event is free-to-the-public, with a suggested donation of $10-$20 per attendee. A VIP experience presented by Corcoran Sawyer Smith for $150 includes preferred seating, commemorative 2023 T-shirt, drink tickets, tote bag, and access to the VIP lounge at the Hyatt House Rooftop. Ticketed events, VIP tickets, information on directions, parking, volunteering, and links to the artists, can be found at For information on registering for the Bike JC Ward tour, visit BikeJC.Org.

The presenting sponsor of the Jersey City Jazz Festival is Exchange Place Alliance and the Jazz Master sponsor is RWJ Barnabas. Other main sponsors and partners include Goya, Jersey City Cultural Affairs, Hudson County Cultural Affairs, Broad Management, Fords Gin, Hyatt House, and many more. Riverview Jazz is supported in part by public funds from the Jersey City Arts and Culture Trust Fund. See website for full list of community partners and sponsors.

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