[MONTCLAIR + NEWARK, NJ – June 1, 2023] Linda Moody and JAZZ HOUSE KiDS are pleased to announce that drummer Mecadon McCune of Newark will receive the 2023 James Moody Jazz Scholarship for New Jersey. The scholarship, now in its ninth year, is named for Ms. Moody’s late husband, the legendary Newark-raised tenor saxophonist James Moody. It is awarded annually to a New Jersey high school senior who embodies the qualities expressed by the NEA Jazz Master through his life and works—musicianship, creativity, leadership, and community involvement. Mecadon McCune of Newark to study Jazz Performance at Montclair State University.
Mecadon McCune of Newark will receive the 2023 James Moody Jazz Scholarship for New Jersey

A rising senior at Science Park High School in Newark, Mecadon McCune is awarded a $10,000 scholarship. The scholarship is co-presented by Linda Moody and JAZZ HOUSE KiDS and administrated by the Community Foundation of New Jersey, with the winner chosen by Ms. Moody and a panel of renowned musicians – Christian McBride, Renee Rosnes, Mark Gross, Ted Chubb and Nathan Eklund. Eklund directs the JAZZ HOUSE Big Band, of which McCune is a member.

The goal of the Moody scholarship is to assist a student from New Jersey who is committed to furthering his or her jazz studies in college, and McCune, a rising senior at Science Park High School in Newark, intends to pursue a degree in Jazz Performance at Montclair State University studying drums under JAZZ HOUSE teaching artist Alvester Garnett and NEA Jazz Master Billy Hart.

McCune’s win will be officially announced on the BDP Holdings main stage at the MONTCLAIR JAZZ FESTIVAL Downtown Jamboree on September 9, 2023, when he’ll join several of the eight previous recipients for a special reunion performance.

“We had some incredible applicants this year, which made the final decision that much more difficult, but Mecadon checks every single box of what this prize is meant to embody, what a musician is supposed to be and what a citizen is supposed to be.”

This scholarship would be an immense source of pride for Moody, especially since this amazing young man, Mecadon is from Newark. Moody fondly recalled growing up in Newark and was always thrilled when he could provide aspiring musicians with the resources he never had. His enormous presence will always be with us.”


James Moody was born in Georgia in 1925 and raised in Newark, New Jersey. He took up the alto saxophone at age 16, and after serving in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, joined Dizzy Gillespie’s influential bebop big band. Moody’s now legendary 16-bar solo on Gillespie’s “Emanon” alerted jazz fans to an emerging world-class soloist. In addition to being inducted into the International Jazz Hall of Fame in 1996, Moody was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida Memorial College; the prestigious Jazz Masters Fellowship Award granted by the National Endowment for the Arts; an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the Berklee College of Music; and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts Living Jazz Legend Award. In 2001, “Moody’s Mood for Love” was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame “honoring recordings of lasting,
qualitative or historical significance.”


Born 20 years ago with its first jazz workshop in Newark Schools for students and their families on behalf of WBGO, JAZZ HOUSE KiDS transforms lives using the power and legacy of jazz through world-class education and performances that create avenues of
access, learning, career development and community building. The organization and students have received more than 135 awards and honors for excellence in jazz and jazz education. JAZZ HOUSE Montclair students are among the most sought-after in the nation, with 100% attending college and receiving significant merit scholarships.

Every day of the week through a series of in-school and out-of-school programs in four counties in New Jersey and out-of-school programs in Montclair and New York City, the JAZZ HOUSE helps young people gain an artistic edge, fostering community leaders and global citizens who help us build thriving communities. The JAZZ HOUSE produces 150+ free public concerts per year to audiences close to 150,000, including the organization’s far-reaching cultural signature program, the award-winning MONTCLAIR JAZZ FESTIVAL, the largest free jazz festival in the NYC area, attracting 25,000+ attendees to downtown Montclair each year.