Christian McBride spins and plays funk and jazz.
Christian McBride spins as DJ Brother Mister this past summer. COURTESY JAZZ HOUSE KIDS

Jazz House Kids Body & Soul Benefit
Saturday, Feb. 10

18 Label Studios, 18 Label St.
jazzhousekids.org or 973-744-2273.

100% of proceeds support the Jazz House Kids Music and Education Fund.
Full schedule below.

By GWEN OREL
Orel@montclairlocal.news

Jazz is an American art form, but it’s celebrated around the world, says Melissa Walker, president and founder of Jazz House Kids, a nonprofit organization that offers year-round musical training of all backgrounds, and also produces the “No Tickets Required” free Montclair Jazz Festival in the summer.

Because jazz has been enhanced by its international practitioners, it’s appropriate for the Body & Soul benefit for Jazz House Kids to present six different styles of jazz, along with a variety of cuisines and wines, Walker said. The fundraiser takes place Saturday, Feb. 10, at 18 Label Street.

Depending where jazz is performed, she said, it has “taken on the flavor of those people, that culture, yet still has the element of improvisation, and the element of being tied to the people. It’s folk music at its heart.”

Chris Cannon, proprietor of Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen in Morristown, will present a cooking demonstration.

The musical genres included in the evening include big band, tango, New Orleans, “trad jazz” and funk.

The benefit will include live and silent auctions with prizes that include a three-night stay at the Hamilton Princess in Bermuda, and a dinner for six at the home of Ariane Duarte (owner and chef of Ariane Kitchen and Bar). There will also be a raffle.

All proceeds from Body & Soul will support Jazz House Kids’ music and education fund, which provides in-school jazz education programs and instruments for students at 16 urban schools in four New Jersey counties, and need-based tuition assistance for students ages 8-18, including the Jazz House Summer Workshop.

Jazz House Kids’ artistic director, Christian McBride, fresh off his sixth Grammy win, will spin as “DJ Brother Mister” for an old-school soul funk dance party, in the late night set.

Professor Cunningham plays old school jazz.
PROFESSOR CUNNINGHAM

Other featured artists include the Pedro Giraudo Tango Quartet; Professor Cunningham & His Old School, playing New Orleans style jazz, including a horn section; and the Jazz House Big Band, under the leadership of saxophonist Abraham Burton. The youth big band is a six-time finalist in the national Charles Mingus High School Competition and Festival; a classic piano trio, including West Orange native Isaiah Thompson leading three young musicians; and Jazz House Kids’ Alumni Ensemble, made up of emerging musicians seeking professional music careers.

Walker pointed out that four of the students are in the Grammy band, which selects 30 students from around the nation at the awards.

“It’s important for us that we provide an opportunity for young people to go out and share their craft and get better by doing live performances,” Walker said. “As a jazz artist how you get better with your craft is really sharing your craft. You can practice as much as you want in your room, but really the act of doing it is how you strengthen and grow as a player.”

BENEFIT SCHEDULE

Early Show: 6:30-8 p.m.
Pedro Giraudo Tango Quartet
Jazz House Kids Emerging Musicians Ensemble
($250 ticket includes main and late sets plus valet parking)
Main Set: 8 p.m.-12 a.m.

Professor Cunningham &
His Old School
Jazz House Kids Big Band
Piano Trio with Isaiah Thompson
($150 ticket includes the Late Set Dance Party with Christian McBride as “DJ Brother Mister”)

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