My Day at the Central Jersey Jazz Festival New Brunswick

By Matthew D. Gamble

September 17, 2016 marked the day the Central Jersey Jazz Festival in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The festival lasted from 1pm to 6pm. Having been preoccupied with various errands, I managed to only view the final hour and a half of the event. I saw two bands at this festival and that was the New Brunswick Brass Band and Jeremy Pelt’s Quartet. The event was filled with a variety of people, of different backgrounds, old and young. All brought together to enjoy the bands that exhibited their talent.

I must say that for the limited time I was there, that is was an amazing experience and the acts showcased a high caliber of talent. The first band that I saw was New Brunswick Brass Band which consisted of a group of locals who played brass and wind instruments. What stood out to me was their rendition of Michael Jackson’s song Human Nature. After the Brass Band had finished their act, it was time for Jeremy Pelt’s Quartet to finish up the last hour. Jeremy Pelt is a trumpeter and has recorded numerous jazz albums. His latest album released is titled #JiveCulture which was sold at the festival’s concession stands.

Jeremy Pelt’s Quartet is made up of Pelt as trumpeter along with a pianist, a cellist and a drummer. Their sound was very reminiscent of old school jazz by John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Very smooth, finely crafted, mindful, emotionally stimulating and tumultuous. One song can be soft and relaxing, another can be passionate and fiery. The influence of Charles Mingus is also present in the sound, as Pelt was a member of the Mingus Big Band early on in his career. Pelt and his quartet were strong closers for this wonderful festival. Providing the audience with a cloud of pure and unrelenting jazz, honoring all the late greats who have pioneered this musical art form.

All in all, the Central Jersey Jazz Festival was an incredible experience that I highly recommend for those in the area to visit. It is held September of every year in the towns of Flemington, New Brunswick and Somerville.


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