The Jazz House Beat Newsletter

The JAZZ HOUSE Beat: Volume 4

Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival

From the Desk of President + Founder Melissa Walker

Melissa Walker, Founder & President of Jazz House KidsMay is beautiful in our hometown of Montclair, and a perfect time get outside and appreciate the warmer weather, dig a little in the garden and stop to smell the fragrant trees and flowers. We hope it is just as lovely in your neck of the woods.

Inside at the JAZZ HOUSE, we’re multitasking as we do best — preparing for several end-of-year student concerts, building out our summer programs and registering students and, oh yes, planning the largest free jazz festival in the greater NYC region. At the end of the month, we are also celebrating a big birthday.

JAZZ HOUSE Big Band: Continuing the Legacy of Achievement

This weekend, our JAZZ HOUSE Big Band under the direction of the masterful Nathan Eklund will be competing at the most prestigious big band competition in the nation, the Essentially Ellington High School Competition and Festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center. We are one of 15 finalists of elite jazz bands across the country. This has truly been a breakout year for our students who have worked very hard to achieve this honor, after close to two years of disrupted learning. Returning to the competition for the first time since 2016, our entire staff will be in attendance along with family and friends to cheer them on at their performance on tomorrow afternoon at 2:45 pm — we hope you watch the livestream!


Performs at the Essentially Ellington
High School Competition and Festival
Friday, May 6th | 2:45-3:15 pm.
LINK! Watch the livestream here

2022 JAZZ HOUSE Big Band

Guess Who’s Turning 50!

It’s a tradition around here to celebrate birthday months, and that’s what we plan on doing for my partner in crime, who (finally) officially turns the big 5-0 on May 31. As a singer, I usually think of life as a series of songs, and for Christian, there are far too many songs to name that express the love I have for Babe and how after almost 17 years of marriage, each day is filled with so much joy. I know that I am not alone when it comes to the special friendships that Christian has forged throughout his life with so many of you. And even if from afar, the undeniable impact he has had on stage and off resonates far and wide. Christian has enriched jazz and jazz education immeasurably, and if you would like to join me at NJPAC to say a special thank you with an evening you will never forget — hurry and get your tickets today for Christian’s Celebrity Roast hosted by Cedric the Entertainer. See below for all the details.

Gratefully yours,

Melissa Walker signature

NJPAC roast of Christian McBride hosted by Cedric The Entertainer

Christian Turns 50! To celebrate 8-time GRAMMY-winning bassist and our Artistic Director Christian McBride, JAZZ HOUSE KiDS has teamed up with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center to give him a proper roast, something he’s always wanted. A super comedy fan, we are thrilled to oblige Christian by putting him on the hot seat for this one night only. Christian’s good friend and comedian Cedric the Entertainer will be on hand to serve as roastmaster.

Dinner will be right on stage at NJPAC’s Prudential Hall, followed by an evening full of belly laughs, musical accompaniment and an all-star cast of pros and pals like comic geniuses George Wallace and Jeff Ross on hand to skewer one of the nicest people we know.

All proceeds benefit two organizations
close to Christian’s heart:

New Spotify Playlist!

2022 Cinco De Mayo play listCinco de Mayo!

As you make your tortillas and chilaquiles, and stir your tequila, join us in commemorating the Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla with the soundtrack of Latin Jazz.

This new playlist, created by our own Melanie Nanez, consists of 18 songs from the likes of Poncho Sanchez, Tino Contreras, Eduardo Bortolotti, Santana and others, is sure to get you up and dancing.


Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival

@ Jazz at Lincoln Center
Friday, May 6th | 2:45-3:15 pm
Watch the livestream here
The JAZZ HOUSE Big Band competes with 17 of the best high school bands in the country.

2022 JAZZ HOUSE Spring Concert


@ Trinity Commons, Parish Hall. 76 Trinity Place, NYC

Saturday, May 14
We are proud to present our talented students studying at the JAZZ HOUSE with special guests, our students from Science Park High School and Arts High School in Newark.

Set 1: 1:00-3:30 pm
  • JAZZ HOUSE Messengers directed by Anthony Ware
  • Blues and Roots directed by Abel Mireles
  • Louis Armstrong Ensemble directed by Ed Palermo
  • Organ Messengers directed by Radam Schwartz
  • Arts High School Combo directed by Anthony Ware
  • Vocal Ensemble directed by Dylan Pramuk
  • Dynasty Big Band directed by Mike Lee
Set 2: 4:30-7:00 pm
  • Organ Ambassadors directed by Radam Schwartz
  • Messengers directed by Birsa Chatterjee
  • Ambassadors directed by Irwin Hall
  • Ambassadors directed by Mike Lee
  • Science Park High School directed by Mario Banks
  • JAZZ HOUSE Big Band directed by Nathan Eklund

Stay tuned about how to watch the entire May 14th concert livestream and concerts coming up at our JAZZ HOUSE Music Club programs in Newark and Paterson!


2022 Jazz House Summer Programming


Summer Sessions | June + July

JOiN US for weekly small ensembles featuring the compositions of jazz’s
iconic composers! Immerse yourself in the music of these legendary composers and learn the improvised language they used to create their unique sound. Continue to develop YOUR musical voice with our online electives.

JAZZ HOUSE Summer Workshop | August 1 – 13

WORK HARD AND PLAY HARD at the award-winning workshop held on the campus of Montclair State University. The intensive two-week session immerses students in the art of jazz performance and helps them become well-rounded musicians through ensemble performances and jam sessions with professional musicians.

2022 Montclair Jazz Festival dates


Major support for our programs is provided by Amazon; BDP Holdings, LLC; Brandenburg Productions; John J. & Rose Cali Family Foundation; Leslie + Ted Dixon; Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Gia Maione Prima Foundation; Susan + Chris Gifford; Herb Alpert Foundation; Kenneth Goldman Donor Foundation; Lincoln of Wayne; Manhattan Mechanical Contractors, Inc.; Montclair Center BID; National Endowment for the Arts; New Jersey State Council on the Arts; Ralph Pucci International; Regan Family Foundation; TD Bank; Trinity Church Wall Street; Victoria Foundation; Rita + Terry Woodard and our other many other generous donors.

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