My first paid radio job was at a jazz station in Philadelphia and that experience not only started me on a career, but also introduced me to America’s only true art form…Jazz! I got to play and learn about all the greats including legendary Grammy winner Dianne Reeves.

Dianne will be headlining Kean University’s second annual Jazz & Roots Music Festival on Saturday, September 24. It will include jazz, blues and reggae on Kean’s East Campus in Hillside.

The Jazz & Roots headliner will be five-time Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves.

Kean President Lamont O. Repollet said, “For the second year in a row, we are bringing Kean’s students, employees, alumni and neighbors together for a celebration of jazz and blues in a free, family event…Kean has established itself as a cultural force in the region, and we welcome all to join us at the Jazz & Roots Music Festival.”

The Festival is Saturday, September 24, from 4 to 8 pm (rain date Sunday, September 25 from 2 to 6 pm)

Music Fest graphic

The saxophonist expressively plays the gold saxophone at a concert in the city park. Processing with the effect of double exposure.

Here’s the festival lineup (in order):

Kean University Jazz Ensemble transcends cultural boundaries with its fresh take on contemporary gospel, pop and musical theater, as well as standard big band and contemporary jazz works.

Dianne Reeves The preeminent jazz vocalist in the world, five-time Grammy winner Dianne Reeves won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Recording for three consecutive recordings — a first in any Grammy vocal category. Reeves has performed and recorded with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and appeared in, and won a Grammy for, the Academy Award-nominated George Clooney film, Good Night, and Good Luck. She has received honorary doctorates from Berklee and Juilliard, and in 2018, she was designated a Jazz Master, which is the highest honor the U.S. bestows on jazz artists.

Blues People includes festival producer Mike Griot on bass along with band mates Kelton Cooper (lead vocal/guitar), Victor Burks (vocals/keyboards) and Gene Lake (drums), and musically explores the effects of the blues on American culture on many different levels. The band, which has been compared to The Meters, Luther Allison, Keb’ Mo’ and Earth Wind & Fire, has recently released their 2022 debut The Skin I’m In.

Don Braden and Karl Latham – Big Fun(k) is a jam band described as a “synchronized rhythm machine.” Each player primarily emphasizes rhythm, and all the parts interconnect, drum backbeats, bass grooves, keyboard riffs and colors and pentatonic tenor saxophone figures.

Judah Tribe with Josh David The struggle of the Children of the African diaspora is expressed through the music of the soul-reggae band. Their music highlights life as a modern Ethiopian through the teachings and example of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia.

The show is on The Lawn at Enlow Hall at 215 North Avenue, in Hillside, New Jersey. Bring you lawn chairs, blankets and enjoy some delicious fare from a variety of food trucks. For more information, visit

Five New Jersey Teens Selected For 2022 'Student Leaders' Program

Bank of America has selected five Northern New Jersey high school students as Student Leaders® (#BofAStudentLeaders), an eight-week paid internship providing students with first-hand experience in serving their communities.

These students are mid-way through their internship experience of workforce skills, leadership, and civic engagement with local Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey.

In addition, the Student Leaders are gaining access to career skills-building opportunities that are crucial in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing job market.

“This is a win-win for New Jersey. So many organizations need talented young people to help serve our communities. With the Student Leaders program, we’re able to pair some of New Jersey’s best and brightest students with nonprofit jobs that will truly have an impact,” said Alberto Garofalo, president, Bank of America New Jersey in a press release. “Young adults are the future of our state, and programs like Student Leaders are one way we can provide paid opportunities that help pave the way for the next generation of the local workforce.”

Prior to being selected, these five students underwent a rigorous application process. While they each come from diverse backgrounds, the students all are united by their drive and commitment to serve others.

Congratulations to the selected Student Leaders below:

  • Bergen County

    Annabelle Hur
    Academy of the Holy Angels

  • Essex County

    Vanessa Iwuoha
    Essex County Vocational-Technical School, Newark Tech Campus

  • Hudson County

    Annalie Diaz
    West New York, Memorial High School

  • Hudson County

    Alisha Varma
    Jersey City, Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School

  • Middlesex County

    Amirah Oladoja
    Woodbridge TownshipWoodbridge High School