It’s a sound proposition: free summer concerts offer music lovers — and families — an opportunity to hear first class jazz, Latin, world, and new music in one’s proverbial backyard.
The music in Trenton starts on Saturday, July 23, with the launch of a 10-part series featuring hot national acts and some of the strongest performers from the capital city region.
The Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series is being made possible through a grant from the Levitt Pavilions, a national nonprofit dedicated to strengthening the social fabric of America through the power of free, live music.
It is the second year that Trenton has nabbed the $25,000 grant to host the Saturday concerts at Capital Green, a three-acre grassy area behind the New Jersey Statehouse.
The partnership began in 2014 when the Trenton Downtown Association submitted the proposal to build on the city’s arts programming, provide cultural opportunities for city residents, and bring visitors to Trenton.
In 2015 thousands of area residents, families, and visitors gathered to hear music and picnic on the grounds that have the potential to become a new urban park.
The series — set for 10 consecutive Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. — starts July 23, with Calma Carmona, a New York based Latin Soul singer-songwriter, recording artist, and an MTViggy Artist of the Week. Also featured is the Trenton Latin hip-hop group Agudos Clef (treble clef in English) whose members include Josue Lora, musician and co-founder of the Galeria Casa Cultura in Trenton, and popular Trenton DJ “ItsJustAhmad.”
The rest of the schedule:
July 30: Trenton alto sax jazz legend Richie Cole with Trenton-roots musician Danny Petroni and his Asbury Park-based the Blue Project.
August 6: Trenton-born salsa artist Edwin Lebron — a concert artist who performs regularly in Miami, New York, and Philadelphia. Also DOcE, the acoustic Latin soul sister-act featuring Trenton’s Thaimi Michelle and Mariela Enid.
August 13: The Ithaca, New York-based electro-rock performing and recording group Jimkata, paired with TEEEL, Hamilton-raised Jim Smith’s sounds that merge hypnotic vocal synthpop with electronic rock
August 20: Washington, DC, area jazz vocalist, recording artist, and bandleader Akua Allrich. She will be joined by Darwin, Roy & Joel.
August 27: Washington, DC’s “Best Winning Folk Band,” the Bumper Jacksons, the self-proclaimed “big fat party” band mixing American sound traditions. The popular Lambertville-based alternative rock and Americana band Working Class Hussys also appears.
September 3: The New Jersey Capital Philharmonic, performing popular and light favorites. Music director Daniel Spalding will conduct.
September 10: The Washington, DC, area reggae group the Pietasters. Also the Rooftop — a four-piece Trenton-born band that fuses reggae, rock ’n’ roll, progressive, punk, pop, and funk.
September 17: Philadelphia jazz presence and Montreux Jazz Festival winner Alita Moses with Philadelphia jazz-fusion band Ode to Omni.
September 24: New Orleans born fusion R&B/Funk band the Nth Power, with Trenton soul singer and songwriter Showtyme Brooks.
Capital Green, 201 Barrack Street, at the corner of West Lafayette. For a schedule or to become a volunteer, visit concerts.levittamp.org/Trenton.
The West Windsor Arts Council’s “And the Beat Goes On” free summer concerts at the Nassau Park Pavilion starts swinging Saturday, July 16, with Wing Dam, featuring “go-go boot jazz” by John Sheridan on guitar and Wilbo Wright on upright bass.
The select Saturday night series — 7 to 9 p.m. — continues through August 23:
July 23: Chalk and the Beige Americans, a soul-hop foursome based out of Fishtown playing “organic soul-hop.”
August 6: Open Mic Night.
August 23: Panamanian-singer Giovana Robinson gives a new twist to Latin Jazz.
And the Beat Goes On, Nassau Park Shopping Center off of Route 1, located between Target and Panera). www.westwindsorarts.org.
The Arts Council of Princeton’s Thursday night Summer Courtyard Concert series continues at the Princeton Shopping Center on July 14, with AJOYO, the Brooklyn-based group founded by a North African sax player and mixing African traditions with jazz and soul. The music continues:
July 21: Supreme Love Orchestra, under the direction of West Windsor jazz trumpeter John Henry Goldman.
July 28: Dende & Band, led by Brooklyn-based percussionist-composer-singer Dende, the group performs Afro-Brazilian and world rhythms.
August 4: the Philadelphia-based Dirk Quinn Band playing high energy funk/jazz band.
August 11: Trenton’s own Grace Little and the Grace Little Band hitting everything from R&B and gospel to Broadway classics.
August 18: Princeton Indie scene’s singer-songwriter Sarah Donner performing original works and sharing the stage with Helen O’Shea, the JoGa Band, and others.
August 25: the Chuck Lambert Band from Red Bank, New Jersey, performs and expands “the Blues.”
Summer Courtyard Concert Series, Thursdays through August 25, 6 p.m., Princeton Shopping Center Courtyard, Princeton. 609-924-8777 or artscouncilofprinceton.org.