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Produced by The Jazz House Kids

Thursdays | July 13 + 27





Wednesday, July 13 6:00 - 9:00pm

Kicking off with a New Orleans-inspired funk set by veteran tenor saxophonist Craig Handy and his 2nd Line Smith, with opening act saxophonist, JAZZ HOUSE alum Birsa Chatterjee, blending together American classical jazz with ancient Indian tradition for a highly-charged, emotional sound.

Rain Date: July 14th

Wednesday, July 27 6:00 - 9:00pm

The ever-grooving B3 organist, Akiko Tsuruga takes center stage after another JAZZ HOUSE alum opener by the talented young trumpeter Wallace Roney, Jr. who continues to forge new paths on the legacy of his late parents Geri Allen and Wallace Roney, Sr.
Rain Date: July 28th

No Tickets Required  | Suggested Donation: $10

Beach and Lawn Chairs Welcome

Pop-Up Tents Prohibited



Born in Oakland, Calif., Craig Handy started out on piano, guitar and trombone before settling on saxophone when he was 11 years old, thanks to hearing Dexter Gordon on the radio. While attending North Texas State, Craig was a frontrunner in the school’s noted One O’ Clock Jazz Ensemble, and where he met trumpeter David Weiss with whom he formed a lifetime musical relationship, later playing together in The Cookers.


Moving to NYC in 1984, Craig quickly began performing and recording with a succession of jazz greats such as Roy Haynes, Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Elvin Jones and Cedar Walton. Craig also started working with the Mingus Big Band and Mingus Legacy group, an affiliation that would continue for more than three decades. In addition to performing the opening theme to The Cosby Show’s sixth and seventh seasons, Craig was featured in Robert Altman’s 1996 film Kansas City, in the role of legendary saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. Over the years, Craig has released numerous recordings as a leader or co-leader, including most recently Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith, with whom he will perform at the festival.

Craig Handy.jpg


Raised in Osaka, Japan, this talented musician began studying the organ at the age of three, at the famed Yamaha Music School. After discovering her passion for jazz very early on in her musical journey, Akiko launched her career immediately after graduating from the Osaka College of Music. While living and playing in Osaka, she performed with several world- renowned jazz musicians from the United States. 


After coming to New York City, Akiko was soon sitting in, playing gigs, and eventually recording with jazz greats such as Frank Wess, Jimmy Cobb, Grady Tate and others. She drew the attention of Lou Donaldson who chose her as his quartet’s organist in 2006. Akiko was also mentored by organ great Dr. Lonnie Smith, whom she considers her greatest influence.


Akiko has ten albums as a leader to her credit in both the U.S. and Japan. Akiko frequently performs in a trio with drum great Jeff Hamilton and guitarist Graham Dechter. Their first recording, Equal Time, was released in June 2019 This thrilling trio has been touring around the US and Europe. In addition, Akiko will be joining The Clayton - Hamilton Jazz Orchestra’s 2022 European Tour. 


BIRSA CHATTERJEE started as a student at the JAZZ HOUSE in middle school and soon distinguished himself on the saxophone and with his vocals. He was a member of the award-winning JAZZ HOUSE Big Band and was the first recipient of the James Moody Jazz Scholarship for New Jersey. Birsa graduated from The Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2019 with degrees in saxophone and vocal performance and received his master’s degree in jazz saxophone performance from The Juilliard School.


Birsa has played at Carnegie Hall, the Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club, NJPAC, and across the U.S., Peru and India. He has forged new ground as a composer blending authentic elements of Indian classical music and jazz. He has performed as a guest soloist with the Dominick Farinacci Big Band, appeared alongside Terence Blanchard at the Tri-C Jazz Festival, and played with many other jazz greats. In 2020, he debuted the Birsa Chatterjee Quartet virtually to global audiences and does regular performances combining influences of Jazz as well as his Indian classical musical roots.

In addition to teaching at the JAZZ HOUSE, Birsa works with students at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Juilliard youth programs, and privately in New York City.

Birsa Chatterjee.jpg



The Soundcheck Series also features local restaurants and food trucks, the Jazz Beverage Garden featuring a specially-curated Belgian Blonde Ale from the Montclair Brewery, and a VIP seating area for Friends of the MONTCLAIR JAZZ FEST. Pineapple Express also will be fully open with BBQ and drink menus.



  1. FREE Parking for the public is available at the Lower Lackawanna Plaza parking lot with the entrance on Glenridge Ave (southeast of Grove Street)

  2. Metered Parking, which must be fed until 7:00 pm, can be found along all township streets

  3. Parking Garage adjacent to the Bay Street NJ Transit train station is a 10 minute walk away

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