Checking out the Montclair Jazz Festival last night

I went to check out the first night of the 2021 Montclair Jazz Festival last night, and this year’s edition is a big change from years past, where it was a one day event in Nishuane Park. This year, there’s numerous events spread out over 2 1/2 months, which I think is fantastic! Last night’s “Lackawanna Soundcheck” featured Alex Laurenzi – a young saxophonist, composer, and arranger from Mountain Lakes, NJ – and Cocomama, a 9-piece all-female Latin jazz orchestra. Cocomama is described as “a virtual United Nations of women, with the members hailing from five countries on four continents,” and they were great! Check out their music via this video below:

If you’re in the Essex County area of NJ, I’d recommend taking advantage of – and supporting – this series of events, which you can see on the event calendar here. The Montclair Jazz Festival, now in its 12th year, has been produced annually by Jazz House Kids, one of the nation’s foremost jazz education organizations for young people. Jazz House Kids is led by Artistic Director and festival curator Christian McBride, a 7x Grammy Award-winning bassist and band leader.

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