Levitt AMP Concerts Brings Jazz A Triple List of Jazz Artists to Trenton

There was jazz, applause, singing and laughter in Mill Hill Park during the week as three jazz bands played to the cheers of the crowd.

Levitt AMP headliner Alex Parchment brought out the best throughout his performance. “Oh man, this beautiful festival. I’m so glad to be here at the Amp Trenton Music Series. It’s been a blessing, and I’m just happy to be able to share music with these beautiful people,” Parchment said.

The evening began with James White and his band playing contemporary jazz which included classics and new R&B songs. James E. White has over 30 years of experience as a jazz, blues, gospel and R&B musician. Some of his career highlights include his appearance on “Showtime at the Apollo” and his performance with jazz artists Jimmy Scott and Leo Johnson.

On stage with him was Bernon Crowe, Jr, bassist, jamming on his third set of the day. “I’ve been with James White for about six years… He’s also classically trained. He plays all genres of music, from gospel to jazz to funk, pop, rock, r&b. You name it,” Rowe said.

As lawn chairs spread out in Mill Hill Park, Trenton resident Eboni Hicks and her mother, Diane Carmichael, sat and listened to music as she cradled her newborn baby.

“Being in a town with my mom is the most important thing to me. It created memories with her and the new baby in the family,” Hicks said.

Carmichael adds that she wanted to enjoy the night with her daughter at a free event. “I like jazz music; I like that it’s free. Few things you could get these days are free. It’s wonderful that they let you out and you don’t have to pay a dime,” Carmichael said.

After White came Jackie Greggs, a 25-year music industry veteran who played from Louisiana to New York. In 2011, Greggs toured Kyoto, Japan for five weeks, performing at the prestigious Selected Repos Nightclub. She is riding on her success after releasing her second single, “Old Friend”, in 20221, a tribute song to one of her musical influences, the late Phyllis Hyman.

“I love music, and I love to sing and perform. So any opportunity I have to do that, I take it,” Greggs said. She grew up with R&B and gospel music. Later, deciding to pursue music as a career, she learned jazz and combined all three to do her styles and remixes.Although she spent time in the studio, her favorite part of her career was being on stage.

“I just appreciate anyone who stops what they’re doing and goes out to listen to live music…because you know what people might be at home on Facebook, but instead they’ve brought their chairs garden, they came out and they listened, and they clapped, and they danced…I want to go back and do it again if I could. It’s just electrifying to me,” Greggs said.

Those who wanted to dance danced; well, others chose to indulge in other relaxation at night. Trenton resident Cynthia McMullen sat in the shade of the trees and listened to music. “I went out because I like jazz; I brought a few cocktails and just chilled. I love it,” McMullen said.

The evening ended with Parchment, who recorded as part of the traditional group, the Alex Parchment Quintet. “So I play contemporary jazz, but it has elements of folk, r&b, gospel, and some covers,” Parchment said.

Parchment is part of an experimental soul-funk-hip-hop-jazz band called AP Chemistry and has worked as a sideman with artists such as Christian McBride, David Sanborn, Chick Corea and others. As darkness descended on Mill Hill, cheers, laughter and applause came for Parchment, and he explained that he had never had such an experience before.

“It was fire on stage. It was crazy…it was just an exhilarating experience. And I’m so lucky to have been able to be on that stage. It was fun. know, everyone played beautifully,” Parchment said.

He continues: “We were very well received. And so I’m just a blessing to be able to be here. And so I hope to come back, but honestly, I felt like this stage. I wish I could feel what I feel at every gig.

This weekend is the last weekend of the Levitt AMP concert series. Rounding out the incredible lineup for the Levitt AMP Trenton 2022 music series is Grammy-nominated Ariacne Trujillo Duran on September 17.

The Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series is supported in part by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, which partners with cities and towns across America to activate underutilized public spaces through the power of free live music, thus creating a welcoming and inclusive destination. Local sponsors include The African American Cultural Collaborative, NJM Insurance Company, as well as support from the City of Trenton, Mercer County Park Commission, Greater Trenton and TrentonDaily.

Ada J. Kenney