Rutgers-Newark Presents 2nd Annual Asian American and Pacific Islander Jazz Fest

Trumpeter Takuya Kuroda will perform at the AAPI Jazz Fest at Rutgers-Newark

The Institute of Jazz Studies and Yardbird Entertainment will present the 2nd Annual Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Jazz Fest  at Express Newark in the historic Hahne & Co. building on May 20. It is the only event of its kind on the East Coast.

“This festival celebrates the important and ongoing contributions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community to this music we call jazz, and we at Rutgers–Newark are thrilled to host what will be a great day,'' said Wayne Winborne, Executive Director at The Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers–Newark. "For the institute, the emphasis is not only to preserve history, but to also focus on modern day artists that are creating this history."

This year’s festival will have two main stages featuring 10 Asian American and Pacific Islander jazz bands from around the country. For the first time, panel discussions will be held throughout the day highlighting AAPI related topics. Artists include headliner and trumpeter Takuya Kuroda, guitarist Rez Abbasi, and saxophonist Jordan VanHemert.

The event is open to the public with a $40 suggested donation. To find more information and reserve seats visit here.

Peter Lin, Founder of Yardbird Entertainment and Producer of AAPI Jazz Fest emphasized the importance of recognizing AAPI performers as part of an evolving medium.  “Coming from the perspective of a working musician, we often go from gig to gig without realizing how our own upbringing impacts our artistic choices, and how that actually fits in the jazz history timeline,'' said Lin. "It’s hard to say what being an AAPI jazz musician means in the 21st century, but I know it’s absolutely necessary to tell our stories, because that’s where we can begin to connect on a deeper level.”

Bombay, India native and vocalist Christine Correa reflected on her upcoming performance, which will showcase the protest music of legendary percussionist Max Roach and Oscar Brown, Jr. “This music has had a visceral effect on me, especially as the nation has been more engaged in the Black Lives Matter movement and yet again is struggling with issues of freedom and justice. I want to remind listeners that the struggle is very much alive and would like to send a message of solidarity to ALL communities who face oppression in some form,'' she said.

Pianist and AAPI Jazz Fest Community Engagement Officer, Victor Lin, stressed the importance of community at the event. "More than just our identity as musicians, who we are as people and who we are culturally is considerably more significant than just what we produce. Seeing one another, being around one another, being given permission and validation from others who share a cultural commonality with you - these are crucial aspects of artistic development that are taken for granted outside of communities of color, but often lacking for those who are pioneers, outliers, exceptions, and atypical path seekers within minority populations such as Asian American Pacific Islanders.”

He added,  “AAPI Jazz Fest is an opportunity for our community to come together, to share our music, to share our culture, to tell our stories, to learn about one another, and most importantly to simply be with and to celebrate one another through the most American of all musical art forms – jazz.”

Sponsors of the event include Rutgers–Newark, Bill Imada and IW Group, The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, Jazz Generation, Srinija Srinivasan, and Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience. Partners (list in formation) include The Statuary Jersey City. 

AAPI Jazz Fest 2023 Artist Lineup:
Takuya Kuroda
Jordan VanHemert
Rez Abbasi
Julius Tolentino & Chameleon Big Band
FRIENDSHIP (led by Jenny Xu)
Christine Correa
mitamu (led by Tammy Huynh)
Tim Lin
Eri Yamamoto
AAPI Jazz Collective (led by Peter Lin) + Jam Session
AAPI Jazz Fest 2023 Panel Discussion Topics:
Asian Perspectives in Jazz Education
Identifying Asians in Jazz Education
The Sound of Solidarity
Asian and Black Intersectionality in Music
The Search for Equality
Asian Women Voices in Jazz
“But where are you REALLY from?”
Finding authenticity in jazz artistry through cultural exploration

The AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Jazz Fest celebrates the pan-Asian jazz community and its ongoing, vital presence in the music world. We seek to honor the past, present, and future, highlighting the depth and breadth of the varied Asian American artists and communities that are committed to expressing themselves through this unique art form and its derivations.

The Institute of Jazz Studies is the world's foremost  jazz archives and research library. Founded in 1952 by pioneer jazz scholar Marshall Stearns (1908-1966), the Institute has been a pioneering institution in the preservation and access of jazz heritage. IJS relocated from Stearns' apartment to Rutgers University–Newark in 1966, and is part of the Rutgers University Libraries. In 1994, IJS moved to spacious new quarters on the fourth floor of the John Cotton Dana Library at Rutgers–Newark. The Institute serves a broad clientele, including teachers, scholars, musicians, the media, record companies, filmmakers, and arts agencies.

Yardbird Entertainment is a BIPOC-led, local production company that offers media and entertainment solutions to organizations and small businesses in the tri-state area with a strong focus in northern NJ. Founded in 2019 by two jazz musicians, Yardbird Entertainment aims to promote jazz and its creators through audio, video, & livestream productions, live music bookings, and event management. 

Express Newark is a center for socially engaged art and design in which people can create art together, learn collaboratively, and build coalitions to advocate for change. Express Newark honors the city’s historical legacy as an epicenter of art and activism by being a third space that bridges the campus and community and supports contemporary artists who are dedicated to social justice in Newark and beyond.

Peter Lin
Producer of AAPI Jazz Fest

AAPI Jazz Fest 2023
May 20, 2023
@ Express Newark (Hahne & Co. Building)
54 Halsey Street, Newark, NJ 07102