South Orange Performing Arts Center is located at One SOPAC Way, South Orange, NJ, 07079. All artists and prices are subject to change at the time of this release. For more details on the upcoming season, including a complete schedule and ticket information, visit SOPACnow.org, or contact the SOPAC Box Office at 973.313.2787 (ARTS)
SUN 11/4 @ 7:00PM: JAZZ IN THE LOFT: MIKE LEE FAMILY $15 Cover, Cash Bar, No Drink Minimum
As part of SOPAC’s “IN THE LOFT” series of jazz, blues and theater performances in the casual, club café atmosphere of the SOPAC Loft. Mike Lee can be heard frequently with the Village Vanguard Orchestra (formerly the Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Orchestra), the Maria Schneider Orchestra and the Bill Mobley Big Band with which he recently performed and recorded alongside acclaimed pianists James Williams, Harold Mabern and Mulgrew Miller. He has appeared around town with small groups which include New York musicians such as guitarists John Hart and Ron Affif, trumpeter Dave Douglas, bassist Ron McClure and drummer Elliot Zigmund. Two of Mike's compositions were selected among the top five in the 1997 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and BMI International Jazz Composers Competition. He was a member of Joe Lovano's Celebrating Sinatra touring ensemble. Currently, Mike lives in the New York City area, tours extensively with his own bands and maintains a busy schedule of clinics and guest artist appearances for university jazz programs. Recent festival appearances have included performances with Benny Green, Marian McPartland, Matt Wilson and John Hart.
TUE 11/13 @ 7:30PM: JAZZ KNIGHTS OF WEST POINT Free Admission
Bringing over three decades of musical excellence to their audiences, the West Point Band’s Jazz Knights present the best in big band favorites, popular music, and original compositions and arrangements for jazz ensemble. Past and present members of the band have played with such icons as Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, Ahmad Jamal, Chaka Kahn, Prince, Billy Cobham, and the Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller Orchestras.
SUN 11/18 @ 7:00PM: BLUES IN THE LOFT: SHARI PINE $15 Cover, Cash Bar, No Minimum
As part of SOPAC’s “IN THE LOFT” series of jazz, blues and theater performances in the casual, club café atmosphere of the SOPAC Loft. “Straight up, low down, burning and churning: Zero to Soul in 10 seconds.” Vocalist Shari Pine enriches audiences with her modern take on Blues. As a child Pine had always surrounded herself with music, if she wasn't flipping through her mother’s old records, she was constantly turning the radio dial. She began her formal training in classical guitar and then continued in vocals. Today she draws inspiration from artist from Barbara Streisand to Eddie Vedder and styles from R&B to classic rock. Weaving the vocal styles of R&B, Gospel and American Roots, Pine places herself at the crossroads of Blues. Even though she is firmly anchored in traditional blues, one foot is stepping into the future. Shari Pine performs at a large variety of venues from B.B. Kings in New York to local venues such as Hat City Kitchen, Maplewoodstock, and now at SOPAC’s In the Loft series.
SUN 12/9 @ 3PM: THE JUILLIARD JAZZ ENSEMBLE featuring CARLA COOK Juilliard @ SOPAC $20
Featuring Grammy nominated jazz singer Carla Cook, The Juilliard Jazz Ensemble returns to SOPAC for their popular holiday concert. The Jazz Ensemble consists of promising young Juilliard artists taught by today's most active, innovative, and respected jazz musicians. The sextet will perform pieces putting their own inventive spin on holiday classics and favorites. The Juilliard Jazz Orchestra and the division’s small ensembles play more than 50 performances annually including appearances at the Detroit Jazz Festival and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and tour to destinations such as Costa Rica, Colombia, Japan, Spain, and Brazil. The ensembles perform regularly at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola and the world-renowned Blue Note in New York City. For the past several seasons they also have enjoyed week-long runs at Jazz at Lincoln Center with guest artists such as Kenny Barron, Lew Tabackin, Gerald Wilson, Bobby Watson, Ernie Andrews, Tom Harrell and Sean Jones.
SAT 1/26 @ 8:00PM: JESSICA MOLASKEY WITH MARTIN PIZZARELLI $35, $45, $55
Jessica Molaskey’s crisp and friendly vocal stylings will put a spring in your step. A veteran of over a dozen Broadway shows, Ms. Molaskey can also croon out jazz standards with the best of them. Appearing with brother-in-law Martin Pizzarelli and a surprise guest, this is one show you don’t want to miss! Jessica Molaskey is a veteran of a dozen Broadway shows: A Man of No Importance at Lincoln Center written by Terrance McNally, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Parade (directed by Hal Prince), Dream, Tommy, Crazy For You, Les Miserables, City of Angels, Chess, Cats and Oklahoma! and she has performed off-Broadway and regionally in dozens of productions. Jessica has premiered music written by Ricky Ian Gordon, Adam Guettel, Jason Robert Brown, Michael John LaChiusa, Stephen Sondheim and John Bucchino. She has written songs for almost a dozen recordings including “Greed”, part of a commission for Audra McDonald’s Seven Deadly Sins at Carnegie Hall and Ms. McDonald’s CD Cradle and All. Along with her husband John Pizzarelli, Jessica hosts a weekly national radio program called Radio Deluxe.
FRI 2/1 @ 8:00PM: OMAR SOSA @ PAOLO FRESU $25-$35
5000 miles and the Atlantic Ocean separate Sardinia and Cuba, birth places of Paolo Fresu and Omar Sosa. Yet these two improvisers and genius composers found a way to eliminate the distance to form an unusual duo. Their latest album Alma celebrates this new collaboration between six-time Grammy-nominated Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa and celebrated Italian trumpet and flugelhorn player Paolo Fresu.
SUN 2/10 @ 2:00PM: SUPER SCIENTIFIC CIRCUS $16
The Super Scientific Circus starring Mr. Fish and Trent the Mime, proves that science can be fun and funny. Alternately assisted and foiled by the comedic antics of Trent the Mime, Mr. Fish uses amazing circus skills involving boomerangs, bubbles, beach balls, and magic to introduce the principles of friction, inertia, centripetal force, aerodynamics, sonic booms, air pressure, and ultraviolet light.
SUN 3/3 @ 7:00PM: BLUES IN THE LOFT: MICHAEL HILL’S BLUES MOB $15 Cover, Cash Bar, No Minimum
As part of SOPAC’s “IN THE LOFT” series of jazz, blues and theater performances in the casual, club café atmosphere of the SOPAC Loft. Consisting of Bill McClellan on drums, Mike Griot on bass, David Barnes on harmonica and Michael Hill on guitar and vocals, Michael Hill’s Blue Mob has made a name for themselves in the world of Blues. Michael Hill’s Blues Mob demonstrates the passion, desire for freedom, humor and justice that are fundamental to the Blues with their lyrics equip with instrumental blues seasoned with rock, R&B, funk and more. Their 1994 debut album, “Bloodlines,” was awarded Best Debut Album of the Year by Living Blues. Since then, the Michael Hill’s Blues Mob has obtained critical acclaim from audiences worldwide. In 2011, Michael Hill was inducted in the New York Blues Hall of Fame as a Master Blues Artist. This past August the Mob released “Goddesses & Gold Redux” and this past September they performed at the South Orange Blues Festival.
SUN 3/16 @ 8:00PM: FRANK WESS QUARTET $25, $35
'Legendary' is the only word to describe tenor saxophonist and flutist Frank Wess. His distinguished career includes leading a 17-piece swing band that accompanied singer Josephine Baker, performing with the Count Basie Orchestra for 11 years, and recording with Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Tony Bennet and Lou Rawls. As one critic notes, when it comes to swing, Guys like Wess don't talk about it. They just do it. And just get better at it."
TUE 3/19 @ 7:30PM: THE NEW YORK VOICES $25 Seniors: $15 Students: $8
Celebrating their 20th Anniversary in 2009, New York Voices is the Grammy Award winning vocal ensemble renowned for their excellence in jazz and the art of group singing. While their interests are rooted in jazz, Brazilian, R and B, classical, and pop influences often are infused with equal creativity and authenticity. Founded in 1987 by Darmon Meader at Ithaca College in NY, New York Voices originally was part of an invitational alumni group formed to tour the European Jazz Festivals in the summer of '86. As a result of this exciting experience, the idea of forming a professional ensemble was born. In 1989 the singers signed their first record contract with GRP Records and released a self-titled debut album, New York Voices. The ensemble received rave notices and quickly received domestic and international recognition in the Jazz World.
SUN 3/24 @ 7:00PM: JAZZ IN THE LOFT: EVAN SHERMAN $15 Cover, Cash Bar, No Minimum
As part of SOPAC’s “IN THE LOFT” series of jazz, blues and theater performances in the casual, club café atmosphere of the SOPAC Loft. Evan Sherman is currently a student at Millburn High School in New Jersey. He has played at many clubs in the New York Metro area including Smalls, Fat Cat, Jules, Puppet’s, Trumpets, Shanghai Jazz, Cecil’s and other venues. For 4 years, Evan performed at the Jazz Standard every Sunday with the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra. He continues to lead a trio at Samurai Sushi in New Jersey every Saturday for over 2 years. Growing up in the New York area has made it possible to play with many top jazz musicians including: Kenny Burrell, Abraham Burton, Roy Hargrove, Hubert Laws, John Lee, James Moody, Tim Ries, Dave Stryker, Julius Tolentino, Mark Whitfield, Steve Wilson and many others. Evan has studied with many esteemed jazz artists in the New York area and is currently studying with drummers, Neal Smith and Willie Jones III.
TUE 4/9 @ 7:30PM: THE FACULTY JAZZ ENSEMBLE CONCERT $5 (Advanced Sales), Free (Day of Performance)
Presented by Seton Hall Arts Council. Looking forward to its fourth performance on the Jazz ‘n the Hall series at SOPAC, the Seton Hall University Faculty Jazz Ensemble has become widely recognized, appreciated, and congratulated by the University and the general public for its energetic, entertaining and educational jazz performances. As performing artists-teachers, the Ensemble members collaborate to present an exciting program of jazz music, accompanied by spoken commentary, which always reflects the historic stylistic spectrum of the development of jazz from its traditional New Orleans folk roots to its sophisticated, popular presence in the world today.
SUN 4/14 @ 7:00PM: JAZZ IN THE LOFT: MARLENE VERPLANCK $15 Cover, Cash Bar, No Minimum
As part of SOPAC’s “IN THE LOFT” series of jazz, blues and theater performances in the casual, club café atmosphere of the SOPAC Loft. Having been a number one call studio singer in NYC for years, she has sung back-up" to everyone from Sinatra to Kiss. She has sung on hundreds of commercials, mmmgood, Campbell's Soup", Winston Tastes Good", Michelob Beer, to name a few. Marlene has been a featured artist on The Today Show, The Morning Show, profiled by Charles Kuralt, Carnegie Hall with The Kool Jazz Festival, Entertainment Tonight and so many more. She performs all over the world, highlighting her tours with a month every March in the UK, where she sold out the oldest, most famous club there, Ronnie Scott's. ..."she may be the most accomplished interpreter of American popular song performing today" - The New York Times