Top 20 NJ Arts Events of Week: Exit Zero Jazz Festival, Outlaw Music Festival, more

john pizzarelli exit zero



Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Sept. 29.


The fall edition of the biannual Exit Zero Jazz Festival in Cape May begins with an opening night party, Sept. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Convention Hall, featuring John Pizzarelli’s Swinging Seven. It then continues with concerts by Joshua Redman, Sept. 30 at 8:30 p.m. and Stacey Kent, Oct. 1 at 8:30 p.m., at Convention Hall, plus music outdoors at Exit Zero Ferry Park, Sept. 30-Oct. 2, by Angélique Kidjo, Gregory Porter, Shemkia Copeland, José James, Red Baraat, The New Breed Brass Band, The Baylor Project, The Christian Sands Quartet, Daisy Castro and others.

Willie Nelson will bring his annual Outlaw Music Festival tour to the Freedom Mortgage Pavilion in Camden, Sept. 23 at 3:55 p.m., in its only Jersey stop. Joining the 89-year-old Nelson will be Chris Stapleton, Zach Bryan, Larkin Poe, Brittney Spencer, and Nelson’s son Micah’s band Particle Kid.

• Ringo Starr brings his All Starr Band — also featuring Edgar Winter, Colin Hay, Steve Lukather, Hamish Stuart, Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette — to the Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. He also will display more than 40 works of his art at an exhibition at the resort, Sept. 21-23, with proceeds benefiting the Los Angeles-based Lotus Foundation, which supports a variety of causes related to health issues, substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness and animals in need.


One of the greatest living jazz singers, Dianne Reeves, will headline the second annual Jazz & Roots Music Festival, to be held on the lawn outside Enlow Hall at Kean University in Hillside, Sept. 24 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Other performers at the free festival will include the Kean University Jazz Ensemble, Blues People (featuring Mike Griot, Kelton Cooper, Victor Burks and Gene Lake), Don Braden and Karl Latham’s Big Fun(k), and Judah Tribe featuring Josh David.

Master song interpreter Pat Guadagno and his Small Change band, with guests Eryn O’Ree and Ryan Gregg, will pay tribute to Tom Waits in a show titled “The Heart of Saturday Night,” taking place Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. at the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University in West Long Branch.

Sammy Boyd — a mainstay of the New Jersey music scene since the ’70s as a manager, concert promoter, booking agent and club owner — died in August at the age of 75. The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park will present a tribute concert titled “A Celebration in Song,” Sept. 24 from noon to 6 p.m., with Pat Guadagno & Richard Blackwell, the Monmouth County Police & Fire Pipes & Drums, Holme, Sally Joe Boyd, Bobby Bandiera, Arlan Feiles & J.T. Bowen, Charlie & Chris Brown, and Vini Lopez’s Wonderful Winos. Proceeds will benefit the Fulfill food back.


• Vanessa Collier, a blues/R&B singer-songwriter who also, unlike most blues/R&B singer-songwriters, plays her own saxophone solos (her 2014 debut album, in fact, was called Heart Soul & Saxophone) will perform at Debonair Music Hall in Teaneck, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. (with Anthony Gach opening), as well as at Ross Farm in Basking Ridge, Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m. The Ross Farm show is outside, with attendees bringing blankets or lawn chairs; according to the venue, “Picnics or snacks are welcome, too, we just ask you to carry out what you carry in.”

The Grammy-nominated British blues-soul singer-songwriter guitarist James Hunter and his band, The James Hunter Six, will perform at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. Hunter’s last album, With Love, the James Hunter Six (released in February) was a compilation of love songs he has released over the years.

• Carsie Blanton — who sang protest songs as well as material about life during the pandemic on her 2021 album, Love & Rage — will perform at the Outpost in the Burbs series at the First Congregational Church in Montclair, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. She will perform with her trio, also featuring bassist Joe Plowman and keyboardist Patrick Firth

The Italian vocal group Il Volo (“The Flight,” in English) released an album last year, Il Volo sings Morricone, that was devoted to songs by Ennico Morricone (best known as a prolific film-score composer). It will perform selections from that album, as well as other material, at the Event Center at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m.

From left, James McNew, Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley of Yo La Tengo.

The Frantic City music festival takes place outdoors at the Orange Loop Amphitheater in Atlantic City, Sept. 24 from noon to 10 p.m., with Yo La Tengo, Snail Mail, The Bouncing Souls, Rocket From the Crypt, Titus Andronicus and other bands performing. Fred Armisen of “Saturday Night Live” and “Portlandia” fame will host and other attractions will include vendors (selling records, art, clothing and more), “food options for all diets” and axe throwing.

Also, the Bourré nightclub and restaurant will host a pre-festival show, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m., with Samiam, The Ergs and Night Birds, plus comedian Natalie Cuomo hosting. And after the festival, at 10 p.m. on the 24th, Bourré will present Live Piano Karaoke with Joe McGinty, while the Anchor Rock Club will have a New York Night Train Soul Clap & Dance Off, hosted by DJ Jonathan Toubin.


American Repertory Ballet launches its 2022-23 season with a mixed repertoire program, “Kaleidoscope,” Sept. 23-24 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 24-25 at 2 p.m. at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. The program will feature a collaboration between choreographer Da’ Von Doane (formerly of Dance Theatre of Harlem) and visual artist Grace Lynne Haynes; a new work by ARB’s Ryoko Tanaka and pianist-composer Ian Howells inspired by the Salvador Dali painting, “Swans Reflecting Elephants”; Claire Davison’s “Bewitched,” set to music by Ella Fitzgerald; and a classical pas de deux choreographed by ARB artistic director Ethan Stiefel. Ticket-holders can also attend Q&A sessions with Von Doane and Haynes, Sept. 24 at 1 p.m.; and Tanaka and Howells, Sept. 25 at 1 p.m.

Buggé Ballet and The Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University in Union host the Liberty Hall Dance Festival, Sept. 24 from 1-4 p.m., with site-specific performances, inspired by moments in history, on the museum’s ground, by Megan Chu/Inimois Dance, Loretta D. Fois, Ariel Rivka Dance, Carolyn Dorfman Dance, General Mischief Dance Theatre, Julia Mayo, Kathak Dance Collective, Roxey Ballet Company, sarAika movement collective and Sydney B. Wiggins.

Robert Fripp, left, and David Singleton.


Progressive-rock visionary Robert Fripp and David Singleton will bring a “speaking tour” titled “That Awful Man and His Manager” to The Vogel at The Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Singleton is indeed Fripp’s manager but has also worked as a producer and engineer on albums by Fripp’s band King Crimson and others, and has performed under his own name and the pseudonym The Vicar.

• Kelly Ripa — who will publish her first book, “Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories,” on Sept. 27 — will bring her book tour to the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. The New Jersey Hall of Famer’s husband, Mark Conseulos, will appear with her. According to the book’s publisher, Dey Street Books/HarperCollins Publishers, “Live Wire” is “A sharp, funny, and honest collection of real-life stories.”

Singer and actress Idina Menzel will sign copies of her children’s book, “Loud Mouse: How a Little Mouse Found Her Big Voice …” at Bookends bookstore in Ridgewood, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m. Menzel wrote the book with her sister, Cara Mentzel (Idina simplified her name by taking out the “t”), who will also be there to sign; Cara is a writer and retired elementary school teacher.


Sylvana Joyce and C. Robert Smith of the band, Sylvana Joyce & the Moment, co-wrote the music for “The Last Match: A Pro Wrestling Rock Musical” (yes, a musical set in the world of professional wrestling), which the Jersey City Theater Center will present at Jersey City’s White Eagle Hall, Sept. 26 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.



The Monmouth Arts organization, founded 50 years ago, will celebrate the anniversary with a Golden Celebration at The Garden at the Blu Grotto in Oceanport, Sept. 23, with honorees including E Street Band member and solo artist Jake Clemons, “The Sopranos” actor Vincent Pastore, chef David Burke and restaurateur Marilyn Schlossbach, as well as the CentraState Healthcare System and the Junior League of Monmouth County. The band The Moroccan Sheepherders will perform at the gala. Monmouth Arts supports arts activity of many different kinds throughout the county.

As part of its “Healing With Music” series, Princeton University will present an evening described as “a conversation/concert exploring music’s role in brain injury recovery” at its Richardson Auditorium, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. Writer and broadcaster Clemency Burton-Hill (who survived a 2020 brain aneurysm), neurosurgeon Christopher Kellner and writer Maria Popova will discuss the topic, with violinist Alexi Kenney playing “music that played a crucial role within (Burton-Hill’s) continuing journey of recovery,” according to the Princeton University Concerts web site.

Bands such as Birmingham Six and Broken Shillelaghs and dance groups from the Emerald Isle School of Dance and the Shades of Green School of Dance will be among the performers at the Ancient Order of Hibernians’ 31st annual Irish Fall Festival, taking place on Olde New Jersey Avenue in North Wildwood, Sept. 23-25. Other attractions will include a bagpipes exhibition (at Bill Henfrey Park), Irish Dance Lessons (at the Elks Lodge), Irish memorabilia and food, and a parade (on Sept. 25).


“Scab” at Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union. (Through Sept. 25)

“For the Culture, by the Culture: Thirty Years of Black Art, Activism, and Achievement” at Morris Museum, Morris Township. (Through Sept. 25)

“Thou Shalt Not,” presented by Thinkery & Verse at Church of St. John the Evangelist in New Brunswick. (Through Oct. 14)

“American Stories: Gifts From the Jersey City Museum Collection” at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Through Dec. 30)

“New Jersey Arts Annual: Reemergence” at State Museum, Trenton. (Through April 30)


Since launching in September 2014,, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.


Custom Amount

Personal Info

Donation Total: $20.00

Explore more articles:

Leave a Comment

Sign up for our Newsletter