Rising jazz stars from Maplewood and New Providence to perform

Photo Courtesy of Adam Siegel
The Baker Street Trio comprises, from left, Ryoma Takenaga, Ben Collins-Siegel and Ben Schwartz.

MAPLEWOOD / NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ — The future of jazz will be on display Thursday, Oct. 21, when the Baker Street Trio performs at the New Jersey Jazz Society’s virtual social. The event will be streamed at 7 p.m. at www.njjs.org. There is no admission charge, but donations are welcome.

Trio members are pianist Ben Collins-Siegel and drummer Ben Schwartz, both from Maplewood, and bassist Ryoma Takenaga, from New Providence. Collins-Siegel and Schwartz are students at Newark Academy in Livingston; Takenaga attends the Academy for Information Technology in Scotch Plains. 

The trio began playing together at Montclair’s Jazz House Kids program and formed the trio in the fall of 2020. On Sept. 25, they played at one of the street stages at the Montclair Jazz Festival’s grand finale, and on Friday, Oct. 22, they will be the opening act for guitarists Bernie Williams and Gil Parris at Maplewood’s The Woodland. 

Takenaga and Collins-Siegel were named outstanding soloists at the 12th annual Charles Mingus Festival & High School Competition at the New School of Jazz and Jazz Standard in New York City in 2020. This past summer, Takenaga was accepted into the Carnegie Hall NYO Jazz Orchestra. Schwartz won the 2021 New Jersey Association of Jazz Educators All-Region High School Jazz Ensemble first chair for drums.

The trio will be joined by event host and alto saxophonist Alex Laurenzi, a Jazz House Kids graduate who is now on staff. Laurenzi is a 2020 graduate of Princeton University who grew up in Mountain Lakes. He has performed with several leading jazz artists, including bassist Christian McBride, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and alto saxophonist David Sanborn. While still a student, he won two Essentially Ellington Soloist Awards and two DownBeat Student Soloist Awards. He also performed at the last NJJS live social, before the pandemic, in February 2020.