The Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival has expanded so that everyone can enjoy free music on Friday at Pioneer’s Plaza and on Saturday on the Morristown Green.
Thanks to Mayor Tim Dougherty and the Town of Morristown, music fans of all ages will enjoy great music both on Pioneer’s Plaza, which is conveniently located on Speedwell Avenue between Headquarters Plaza and 1776, and on The Green. Parking is available in the many public lots and the train station is just a couple of blocks away.
Once again, the Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival will pay tribute to Linda Smith who was one of the festival founders and co-produced the event for years, and Michael Fabrizio who was also one of the founders and served on the festival board. They both sadly passed away in 2021.
The Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival has expanded both Friday evening and all-day on Saturday! As always, the Festival will present five groups on The Green in the center of Morristown from Noon until 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 23.
Jazz is America’s music and the U.S. Navy Band Commodores, the Navy’s premier jazz ensemble, have been performing the very best big band jazz across the United States for more than 50 years! Formed in 1969, this 18-member group is comprised of some of the top musicians in the world. While this is their first appearance at the Festival, we are excited to have them.
(Photo courtesy of Anastasia Bonotto)
The Gotham City Latin Jazz Septet is led by Grammy Award-nominated Richard Baratta who began his career in music, then took a turn into a film career. His film credits include such well-known movies as “Joker,” “Chicago 7,” “Irishman” directed by Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and many others. He returned to music fulltime in 2019. The Latin Jazz Septet also includes saxophonist Vincent Herring (best known for his long tenure with Nat Adderley), Grammy Award-nominated pianist Bill O’Connell (well known in Latin Jazz circles), the award-winning guitarist Paul Bollenback,bassist Michael Goetz, and percussionist Paul Rossman.
(Photo courtesy of Richard Baratta)
Since forming in 2007 by singer Elizabeth Bougerol and pianist Evan Palazzo, The Hot Sardines have performed their light-hearted style of hot jazz, promoting the early jazz pioneers. Their music is influenced by Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, Jelly Roll Morton and many others but they draw on an eclectic variety of sources which led Forbes magazine to praise then as “one of the best jazz bands in New York City today.”
(Photo courtesy of Aiden Grant)
Ana Popovic, the very popular California-based guitarist and singer who last appeared at the Festival in 2017, faced a dire situationat the start of the pandemic when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. But following many difficult treatments, she has emerged stronger than ever and is now in remission. Her newest recording will be released in May, but she already has eight Blues Music Award nominations and has appeared on the covers of several major guitar magazines. She is back to touring regularly and is considered among today’s top blues artists.
(Photo by Martine Berendsen)
What can we say about this band except that they are sensational and a Festival favorite! Thanks to the Gia Maione Prima Foundation and the law firm of Sherman Atlas, they return to Morristown with their own exciting sound, paying tribute to Louis Prima Junior’s incomparable father who penned some of the world’s best known hits including “Sing Sing Sing,” “Jump Jive an’ Wail,” and “Just A Gigolo.”
(Photo courtesy of Jeff Sovelove)
The Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival is expanding to include Friday night! Instead of on the Green, we will have our bands at Pioneer’s Plaza which is right across the street between Headquarters Plaza and 1776. We are excited to present three great acts starting at 5:00 and they are free,thanks to our generous sponsors and Mayor Tim Dougherty!
Singer Ty Stephens has performed all over the world and locally at Shanghai Jazz many times. The award-winning singer/songwriter has appeared on Broadway and has recorded with legends including Harry Belafonte, Peggy Lee, and Chuck Mangione among others. Both audiences and critics praise him and his band which the New York Amsterdam News called “a must-see band to be experienced live”! The core of his band includes pianist Richard Cummings, guitarist R.T. Taylor, bassist Rondew Monroe, and drummer Tony Lewis. Their special brand of jazz, funk and R&B is the perfect way to kick off the Festival.
(Photo courtesy of Anton Bogomokov)
We are excited to have Debra with us this year. American Blues Scene writes “Imagine you’re preparing a list of today’s top female blues/rock guitarists. No doubt you’ll include Bonnie Raitt, Samantha Fish, Susan Tedeschi and Ana Popovic. If you don’t include Debra Devi, your list is not complete.” And that is so true. Her latest EP, “Jamification Station Vol. 1,” stayed on the Relix/Jambands Radio Chart for three months. And her book The Language of the Blues from Alcorub to Zuzu won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award and has a forward by Dr. John. She is the real deal!
(Photo courtesy of Anjanette Photos)
The Downtown Charlie Brown Blues Band has been playing the Chicago Blues Clubs since singer/keyboardist Charles Brown formed it in 1996. A 1973 graduate of Morristown High School, Charles grew up singing in the Union Baptist Church and played trumpet through high school. A Leigh University graduate, he teaches economics and business at Marmion Academy and lectures frequently in Chicago’s schools. Guitarist Harry Binford has been with the Blues Band for 15 years and bassist Reggie Harrington has been a regular for more than two decades. The group’s drummer is Chicago native Glover Washington. Charlie Brown is returning to Morristown for his 50th Reunion from Morristown High School and is thrilled that his family and friends can enjoy hearing The Downtown Charlie Brown Blues Band at this year’s Festival. (Photo courtesy of Charles Brown)
In Memory of Linda Kiger Smith
Linda Kiger Smith died at home in Tewksbury in 2021 after a long battle with Metastatic Breast Cancer. She and her husband Don Jay Smith were residents of Morristown’s Historic District for many years before downsizing and moving to Hunterdon County. In addition to the two of them being co-founders of MPAC, known to long-time residents as The Community Theatre, they joined with Mayor Tim Dougherty in 2011 to start the Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival. Every year they produced what has become one of the most popular summer music festivals in the area with Linda being responsible for selecting and contracting the artists. Just like last year’s Festival, This year includes some of the talented artists she has worked with over the years. She is survived by her spouse, partner and best friend of 41 years and three children Rebecca, Allison and Charles.
In Memory of Michael Fabrizio
Michael Fabrizio passed away suddenly on June 2021. He became Executive Director for the Morristown Partnership in the mid-nineties and it was in 2011 that he worked with Linda and Don Jay Smith to create the Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival with Mayor Tim Dougherty. The Morristown Partnership serves as the fiscal agent for the festival. When he left the Partnership to assume the role of ED for the Morristown Parking Authority, he continued to serve on the festival board. Michael is survived by Lisa his wife of 28 years and his three children Gabriella, Zachary and Matthew.
The Morristown Inn is once again on board to be the official hotel for the 2023 Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival.
Take advantage of the special very low hotel rates that the Best Western Morristown Inn is making available for visitors to the festival. Call them at 973-540-1700 or click below for more information. Just tell that you are a festival patron.
To reserve your room, go to THE BEST WESTERN PLUS MORRISTOWN INN