REJS ENTERTAINMENT'S MISSION
IS TO HELP PROMOTE JAZZ ARTISTS AND THEIR MUSIC AT DIFFERENT VENUES PRIMARILY IN BUT NOT LIMITED TO NEW JERSEY.
Born and educated in Princeton New Jersey public schools. During my childhood I was exposed to R&B while listening to WBLS and WABC radio. My mother played 45’s listening to Erroll Garner, Miles Davis, and ballads from the likes of Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole, and Johnny Mathis. Gospel was sung by Mahalia Jackson. Into the seventies I was “experienced” by the sound of Jimi Hendrix, Chicago, and Santana. One of my favorite groups are The Crusaders.
By this time I acquired a large record collection which led to an interest in many genre of sound. R & B and disco provided dance, fusion and jazz expanded thought, blues exposed some of my roots, and other sounds introduced me to several different cultures. Music has always been part of my day and night. This passion lead me into friendship with Eric (partner) who grew up in this era of music. In a brainstorm of our enjoyment for music REJS Entertainment was born. The dream to promote young artist left the ground when James (partner) joined the group. We first met as teachers for the Trenton School District.
We began the joint venture with one artist, Scott Tixier, and now we are being sought by several performers. I’ve always enjoyed listening and watching the artists perform. But even more so, checking out the audience tap their foot, bob their head, close their eyes, and stand in ovation.
I was born in Newark, NJ and was educated in the public school systems of Newark, and East Orange, New Jersey. Throughout elementary and middle school (which we called junior high school during my time) I was exposed to all kinds of music. My mother exposed me to jazz when I was around 9 years old. One of the first artists that I can recall listening to were Miles Davis and Wes Montgomery. After listening to these amazing musicians I wanted to learn how to play the trumpet and the guitar, however, football and basketball soon replaced those thoughts.
During the early 70’s my mother, sister, and I relocated to Tallahassee, Florida where I attended Florida A&M High School (FAMU High). My mother was a TV news reporter for WCTV in Tallahassee (first African American news reporter at this station I might add). My mother covered a special memorial service for the great Julian “Cannonball” Adderley at Florida A&M University and received an autographed album from the family which I still value. Her camera man was a renowned Florida State University Basketball stand-out --- Edward “Skip” Young (later to change his name to Ahmad Aliyy). Ahmad was a tremendous jazz enthusiast and being around him brought me back to jazz permanently. At the time I was into such groups as Earth, Wind, & Fire, Parliament, Ohio Players, Jackson 5, O’Jays, and the Stylistics. Ahmad had one of the largest jazz collections I had ever seen and a wealth of knowledge to go with it! I would spend hours going through his collection traveling back in time to music of Duke Ellington, Nat “King” Cole, and going through the different phases of Miles Davis. I remember being astounded by the genius of John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins---these men were immortal.
When we moved to New York I just had to check out all the famous New York jazz venues Ahmad told me about. I was almost a regular at the Blue Note in Manhattan during the 1980’s. I saw many great artists while living in New York such as Nancy Wilson, Bobby McFerrin, Noel Pointer, Lonnie Liston Smith, Idris Muhammad, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Joe Sample, Earl Klugh, Modern Jazz Quartet, Elvin Jones, Ron Carter, and so many others. When I moved back to New Jersey there were not as many jazz spots compared to New York but nevertheless New Jersey had many respectable places that showcased the great artists of jazz. I wanted to join the people and organizations that bring this great music to more New Jersey audiences and with the support of such extraordinary artists as jazz violinist/composer Scott Tixier and pianist/composer Shamie Royston, Rich Jackson, James Freeman and I have been able to do so with the establishment of REJS Entertainment.
James was born and raised in Bristol, PA in the late 60's & 70's, when the village was still the way. Neighbors would watch out for, and discipline each others' children. They made an effort to keep all of the kids on the straight and narrow.
A shy & quiet, yet very active youngster who was raised by my grandparents in a lower-middle class neighborhood, James started Kindergarten at the age of 4, and still believes that hurt his opportunities to advance in athletics later in life due to less physical maturity than his classmates. However, James did well enough, both athletically and academically, to excel through his years at Harry S Truman High School and then Lock Haven University. He played football at both levels and has met many great people because of the participation in his favorite sport. James received a Bachelor's of Science in Health & Physical Education from Lock Haven, a Master's of Arts in Education from Gratz College, and an additional sixty credit hours of study used to enhance his teaching skills. James has coached Football, Track & Field, Basketball, & Soccer at the High School, Middle School, and Elementary School levels and has thoroughly enjoyed those experiences and relationships he created during his many years of coaching!
You're probably wondering why you haven't read anything about James' relationship with music yet! He never had any singing skills, however he was very interested in learning to play the trumpet in Elementary school. Unfortunately, James' parents didn't want to, or weren't able to make that financial commitment. James has always enjoyed instrumental music, though, and a friend introduced him to Jazz in the early 90's. The rest, as they say, is history!
James was introduced to Eric Thomas & Rich Jackson when they all taught together at a startup Charter School in Trenton, NJ in 1998. They shared their love for Jazz and even though they only worked together for that one school year, they continued to stay in touch.
Fast forward to 2013, when Eric asked Rich and James to help them put together a show for a talented young violinist by the name of Scott Tixier! They put their heads together, created a plan, struggled through the ups and downs, and persevered to the end. And after all of that, they enjoyed the experience so much that they decided to try it again. The next month they hosted the fabulous Harmonica player, Yvonnick Prene'. And finally, just two short months later, they were given the opportunity to host the multi-talented Composer & Keyboardist Shamie Royston! It was then that they made the commitment to make this a serious business venture! They were passionate about bringing quality music and incredibly talented artists, whom most people don't know about, to the Central New Jersey area! And they will continue to strive to provide the best Audio/Visual experience to all of guests at every show!
Jacque Howard was born in Trenton NJ and grew up in Ewing Township where he also graduated from public school. He is the youngest of 7 children. He lives in Trenton with his wife and daughter.
Jacque’s college education and early professional experience started in the garment industry before, during and after he graduated from the Art Institute of Philadelphia. He has worked for several industry leaders such as Jones New York, The Limited Brands and The Gap.
After transitioning from the “rag” business Jacque shifted his attention to Community Organizing focusing on building better community relationships. Most recently he was the Executive Director of Urban Mission Cabinet Inc., a non-profit organization committed to developing relationships and creating partnerships between the faith centers of the New Brunswick Presbytery (PCUSA) and the communities where they are located with a focus on the cities of Trenton and New Brunswick NJ.
Jacque is the Creator & Host of a weekly program, the “Trenton 365 Show” which airs over multiple radio stations covering the Delaware Valley Region on AM and FM-HD outlets. Guests on The Trenton 365 Show represent the diverse population of people, organizations and initiatives taking place in the Trenton Region.
Jacque is an active member in the Trenton region by serving with various organizations that are dedicated to making Trenton better for everyone such as the following,