As Women’s History Month draws to a close, we’re sharing this State of the Arts feature with saxophonist and bandleader Virginia Mayhew. Though she was told as a child that “girls don’t play saxophone,” the West Orange resident tells us, “I fell in love with it as soon as I heard it. I didn’t understand it, per se—I just felt it, the rhythm and the emotion.”

In March 2015, we headed to New Brunswick to see the Virginia Mayhew Quartet in action. “One of the great secrets is that most of the big name New York jazz musicians don’t really live in New York… They live in New Jersey!” notes Virginia DeBerry, one of the founders of the New Brunswick Jazz Project, who organized the event as part of their annual Women in Jazz series.

The New Brunswick Jazz Project continues to support the jazz scene in the Hub City by bringing established and emerging talents to venues downtown. Every March they celebrate Women’s History Month by booking women musicians and bandleaders at all of their locations throughout the month.