Iconic Vanguard Jazz Orchestra Opens William Paterson University’s Fall 2023 Jazz Room Series on September 17

The iconic Vanguard Jazz Orchestra makes a rare appearance away from its home at the famed Village Vanguard jazz club in New York City when it opens the fall 2023 season of The Jazz Room at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey.

The concert begins at 4 p.m. in the Shea Center for Performing Arts on campus. The Jazz Room, William Paterson University’s long-running performance series, will feature a wide variety of today’s most exciting jazz musicians during the fall season. Upcoming performances include trombonist Marshall Gilkes on Sunday, September 24; vocalist Karrin Allyson Alves on Sunday, October 15; baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan with the William Paterson Jazz Orchestra on Sunday, October 20; the multi-horn Spirit of Life Ensemble on Sunday, November 5; and saxophonist Steve Wilson on Sunday, December 3.

The 17-piece Vanguard Jazz Orchestra has performed on Monday nights at the Village Vanguard for an amazing 54 years. Originally led by the Thad Jones—the great trumpeter/arranger and William Paterson’s inaugural director of jazz studies—and the drummer Mel Lewis, the ensemble continues to feature that music as a central part of their repertoire to this day. The ensemble will bring some special musical rarities as they make their high-powered return to the Jazz Room stage, featuring many of the band’s great soloists.

The concert will be preceded by “Sittin’ In,” the Jazz Room’s accompanying “meet the artist” concert preview featuring interviews with jazz artists and guest speakers. This informal discussion, free to all Jazz Room ticketholders, begins at 3:00 p.m. in the Shea Recital Hall.

Tickets are $15 for the general public, $12 for WP faculty, staff, alumni, and senior citizens, $8 for non-WP students, and WP students are admitted free. Tickets are an additional $5 if purchased on show day. For tickets or additional information, visit wp-presents.org, or contact the Shea Center Box Office at 973.720.2371 or boxoffice@wpunj.edu.

William Paterson University’s Jazz Room series is the longest-running program of its kind in the United States. Launched in 1978, the Jazz Room has welcomed more than 500 jazz legends to the stage, including Sonny Rollins, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Joe Williams, Marian McPartland, Slide Hampton, Kenny Burrell, Joe Lovano, Kenny Garrett, Clark Terry, Michael and Randy Brecker, the Vanguard Orchestra, and more. Concerts have encompassed the entire spectrum of jazz, from early jazz and swing to avant garde, and from intimate solo performances to big bands.

The performance series provides support for the University’s internationally renowned Jazz Studies Program, founded in 1973, and currently celebrating its 50th anniversary during 2023. The program draws students from across the United States and abroad under the current direction of Grammy Award-winning pianist Bill Charlap.


The Jazz Room at William Paterson University has been made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. This concert is funded by the Woody Shapiro Jazz Room Endowment at William Paterson University, made possible through a generous estate gift.