One of the nation’s longest running jazz festivals, Jazz in the Garden began in 1965 as a way for residents and workers in New Jersey’s largest city to enjoy the Museum’s Alice Ransom Dreyfuss Garden, providing another cultural experience for the community in the warm weather months. Its popularity now extends as far as South Jersey to Long Island. The series has included both local musicians as well as international stars. Some of the notables who have performed are Jimmy Guiffre, Houston Person and Etta James, Ron Carter, Cedar Walton, David Murray and Lou Donaldson.

The afternoon concert series will take place on five consecutive Thursdays, rain or shine, beginning July 6 from 12:15-1:45 p.m. Additionally, two Friday evening performances will open and close the season: on June 23, Ulysses Owens Jr. & Friends present a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, featuring Alyson Williams and Brianna; and on August 11 there will be a performance by pianist Davell Crawford. Both evening concerts begin at 6:30 pm.

Admission is $5 for the afternoon performances. Tickets for the Friday evening performances are $15 for members and $25 for non-members $25. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 973.596.6690.       

Thursday afternoon concert schedule:

July 6             Howard Johnson 
Born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1941, Johnson taught himself the baritone sax in 1954 and the tuba one year later.  He moved to New York City in 1963 and was welcomed by Charles Mingus into his workshop in 1964.  In 1965, he toured with soul jazz alto saxophonist Hank Crawford, playing baritone sax.  In 1966, he played with the Archie Shepp band and appeared with him at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1966 and 1968.

July 13              Five Play
The quintet is comprised of the large ensemble’s rhythm section and two of its foremost soloists: Sherrie Maricle on drums,Tomoko Ohno on piano, Noriko Ueda on bass, Jami Dauber on trumpet, and Janelle Reichman on tenor sax and clarinet.  Rooted in the jazz tradition, they are fueled and inspired by the members’ collective, creative vision to swing through the 21st century.  The quintet’s repertoire is comprised of innovative arrangements of classic and contemporary standards, as well as original music composed and arranged by band members. 

July 20             Russell Malone
Hailing from Albany, Georgia, Malone has worked with master musicians from Jimmy Smith to Ron Carter.  According to the Los Angeles Times, Malone “addresses tradition on his own terms-as a relentless swinger and a master of all tempos. Malone imbues hardcore jazz with a soulful, instantly recognizable instrumental voice and a sophisticated sense of harmony.”

July 27           Claudia Acuna
Though she always wanted to be a singer, Chilean jazz vocalist Claudia Acuña didn’t discover jazz music until she was 15.  She made a name for herself in the New York  jazz community, performing regular dates at Smalls, Sweet Basil, the Zinc Bar and Metronome. Through this consistent gigging she met bassist Avishai Cohen, with whom she collaborated on a demo tape that earned Acuña a contract with Verve Records.

August 3          Stefon Harris
Educator, vibraphonist and composer, Harris has four Grammy nominations among his awards. According to The New York Times, “His technique is untouchable … His timing, the way he places notes against the basic pulse, is unflappable. He swings and when he plays, he makes you feel good.”

Jazz in the Garden is co-sponsored by United and the Newark Museum Business and Community Council.  Jazz 88.3FM WBGO is the media sponsor.