Top 22 NJ Arts Events of the Week: TD James Moody Jazz Festival, Martha Graham Dance Company, more


The Roots, featuring Black Thought (left) and Questlove, will perform at NJPAC in Newark, Nov. 16.

A roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Nov. 20:


The eighth annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival — which touches on blues, R&B, hip-hop and dance, in addition to jazz — is underway, with most of the events scheduled for this weekend and next weekend at NJPAC and other Newark venues.

Among the events on the schedule for this week are:

R&B/soul diva Chaka Khan performs Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. at NJPAC’S Prudential Hall, with Emmaline opening.

Nimbus Dance will perform modern dance pieces that feature jazz music — including “The After Party,” Dawn Marie Bazemore’s homage to Nina Simone and Nancy Wilson — at NJPAC’s Victoria Theater, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.

A screening of the Oscar-winning 1986 Dexter Gordon movie ” ‘Round Midnight” will take place at Clement’s Place at Rutgers University, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m., followed by a panel discussion featuring Maxine Gordon — Dexter Gordon’s manager, producer and widow, and the author of “Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon.”

Veteran jazz fusion groups Steps Ahead and Spyro Gyra will team up with singer-songwriter Michael Franks for a show at NJPAC’s Prudential Hall, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m.


Clint Holmes, Catherine Russell and Billy Stritch will participate in “After Midnight: The Music of the King Cole Trio,” Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at NJPAC’s Victoria Theater.

The New Jersey Music Educators Association All-State Jazz Band and Honors Choir will perform with guest trombonist Steve Turre at NJPAC’s Chase Room, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.

Hip-hop group The Roots will team up with A Christian McBride Situation — a funk-jazz group featuring bassist McBride along with Patrice Rushen, Alyson Williams, Ron Blake, Jahi Sundance and DJ Logic — Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. at NJPAC’s Prudential Hall. McBride, who lives in Montclair, has known and jammed with Roots rapper Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson ever since they were all teenagers growing up together in Philadelphia.


The long-running “Giants of Jazz” series at the South Orange Performing Arts Center will honor the late Harold Mabern at an 8 p.m. Nov. 16 tribute organized by John Lee and featuring Jimmy Cobb, Cyrus Chestnut, Russell Malone, Bill Charlap, T.S. Monk, Rufus Reid, Claudio Roditi, Vic Juris, Dave Stryker and many others.

The Boonton-based Internet radio station,, celebrates its 15th anniversary with a “15th Anniversary Bash” at the Boonton Elks Lodge, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m., featuring New Jersey’s leading homegrown country-rock band, Kinderhook, and the roots-jam group Pinebox Boyz (featuring singer-keyboardist Damian Calcagne, guitarist Mike Buckman, bassist Paul Kuzik and drummer Dan Fadel).


• Sting brings his My Songs Tour to the Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. The tour is named after Sting’s My Songs album, which was released in May and features new versions of songs (some remixed, some totally re-recorded) from both his solo career and his years in the band, The Police.

Singer J.T. Bowen, well known to Jersey rock fans as a member of Clarence Clemons’ Red Bank Rockers and other groups, will present a tribute to Otis Redding at the Strand Center for the Arts in Lakewood, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m., with support from Arlan Feiles, The Bilsby Brothers, Chuck Lambert and Jarod Clemons.

The innovative hard-rock band Tool released its first album in 13 years, Fear Inoculum, in August, and are on a tour behind it that comes to the Prudential Center in Newark, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m.; and Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Killing Joke opens both shows.

• The Weeklings — Lefty Weekling (Glen Burtnik) on bass and vocals, Zeek Weekling (Bob Burger) and Rocky Weekling (John Merjave) on guitar and vocals, and Smokestack Weekling (Joe Bellia) on drums — will perform Beatles songs and originals with a 10-piece orchestra at the Outpost in the Burbs, Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. The show will take place at the First Congregational Church at 40 S. Fullerton Ave. in Montclair. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email with “Weeklings” in the subject line to by 10 a.m. Nov. 15.)


The Everyone Orchestra, Matt Butler’s rotating-cast jam band, performs at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, Nov. 15, with a lineup stocked with explosive musicians: steel guitarist Robert Randolph, guitarist Vernon Reid, singer Remember Jones, drummer Claude Coleman Jr. (of Ween), bassist George Gekas (of The Revivalists), saxophonist Josh Schwartz (of Turkuaz) and others. Doors open at 7 p.m.

How long has Marilyn Maye been singing jazz and pop standards? Well, let’s just say that when she was nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy in 1965, her competition included The Byrds, Sonny & Cher and Herman’s Hermits (and Tom Jones won). Her performance at NJPAC a few years ago proved she can still deliver a song with lots of personality and impeccable phrasing. Maye will perform with Pat Longo’s Hollywood East Coast Big Band, singer Danny Bacher and saxophonist Harry Allen at Dolan Hall at the College of Saint Elizabeth, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Five extremely talented mainstays of the folk circuit and longtime friends with each other — Christine Lavin, John Gorka, Cheryl Wheeler, Patty Larkin and Cliff Eberhardt — are teaming up for a tour titled “On a Winter’s Night,” which comes to the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, Nov. 15; and the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, Nov. 16. All shows are at 8 p.m.


Renée Taylor in “My Life on a Diet.”


Octogenarian actress Renée Taylor looks back on her life, her career and her many attempts to control her weight in a one-woman show, “My Life on a Diet,” which begins previews at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center on Nov. 19, officially opens on Nov. 22, and runs through Dec. 15. Taylor co-wrote the play with her husband, actor Joe Bologna, who died in 2017; Bologna also directed the first production of it, and is credited as the director of this production, too. It is being presented in New Brunswick by the George Street Playhouse.


The Peak Performances series will present the Martha Graham Dance Company at the Kasser Theater at Montclair State University, Nov. 14-15 at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. The program will include Graham’s classic “Appalachian Spring,” featuring music by Aaron Copland; and “The Auditions,” a Peak Performances commission, featuring choreography by Troy Schumacher and music by Augusta Read Thomas, that was conceived as a complement to “Appalachian Spring.” The International Contemporary Ensemble will perform Thomas’ and Copland’s music. “Appalachian Spring” premiered 75 years ago — in October 1944 — with Graham dancing the lead role, and Copland commissioned to provide its music (and winning a Pulitzer Prize for his work, in 1945).

“Spirit of the Mountain” by Jack Crying Raven Anderson.


In celebration of National Native American Heritage Month, the Jersey City Theater Center will present, at Merseles Studios, an exhibition by the artist Jack Crying Raven Anderson, Nov. 16 from 5 to 10 p.m., along with a screening of “American Native,” a documentary about the Leni Lenape Native Americans, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Anderson and members of the Ramapough Lenape Nation will participate in a post-screening talk. There is no charge for either the exhibition or the movie.

Veteran actors Michael Cerveris, Dana Ivey and Richard Masur will read stories at Enlow Recital Hall at Kean University in Hillside, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m., in a live edition of the public radio series, “Selected Shorts.” According to the show’s web site, the readings will be “festive stories filled with love, laughter, and nostalgia.” Cerveris, a two-time Tony winner (for “Assassins” and “Fun Home”), will host as well as reading.

Morven Museum & Garden in Princeton will open an exhibition titled “Dreaming of Utopia: Roosevelt, New Jersey,” Nov. 15, and it will remain there through May 10. More than 100 objects are displayed in an exhibition that “explores the history and culture of Roosevelt, NJ from an experimental immigrant community in the 1930’s to present-day artist colony,” according to the Morven web site. Roosevelt is in Monmouth County.

Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson will offer its annual “Holiday in the Park,” with holiday-themed shows, lights, rides and other attractions, from Nov. 16 through Jan. 1. The opening weekend will include a performance of holiday songs by the band Holiday Express, Nov. 17 at 4 p.m.

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