Posts Tagged ‘DC Jazz Festival’

East River JazzFest’s Vernard Gray on the City’s River-Bound Music Divide

One of the most active partners of the DC Jazz Festival, East River JazzFest, has nothing to do with the polluted waters between Manhattan and Brooklyn. It actually means "east of the river"—as in the Anacostia River, a barrier of sorts between the wealthiest and least-wealthy parts of Washington, D.C.
Vernard Gray founded the JazzFest because [...]

Sunny Sumter Wants D.C. to be America’s No. 1 Jazz City

In the earliest years of the DC Jazz Festival (back when it was still called the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival), Sunny Sumter was on the talent side of the event. Sumter is a longtime D.C. jazz singer who was well-known on the local scene throughout the '90s and into the 2000s. But she joined the [...]

Our Top Picks for the DC Jazz Festival

Tuesday, June 24
It's awfully hard to find a reason not to recommend Allyn Johnson for the opening night of the festival—but then again, why would you even search for one? The evening represents the capstone on Johnson's June residency at Bohemian Caverns, where he's spent every Tuesday in solo piano performance. (He's also been recording [...]

The DC Jazz Festival Slate is Full of Gems, But Relies Too Heavily on Standbys

Two years ago, I defended the DC Jazz Festival's penchant for repeat headliners. However, while I'm attempting to reserve judgment, some things have recently happened to throw that penchant into starker relief.
First, the truncating of this year's festival to six days. There's less time in which to spread the programming out, and therefore the gang [...]

Jon Irabagon’s Daredevil Sax is a Pre-DC Jazz Festival Treat

Man, Jon Irabagon can really, really blow. Since winning the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone composition in 2008, the alto and tenor player has taken seemingly every opportunity to show what he can do. And he can do it all. He's a spectacular and precise sideman, working with trumpeter Dave Douglas and Mary Halvorson in [...]

Arts Roundup: Seal Edition

Area theater companies will mount numerous world premieres by women playwrights in 2015. [Post]
Woolly Mammoth, in concert with African Continuum Theatre, will stage six short plays inspired by the Travyon Martin case. [Post]
Black Cat staff craft a soundtrack for NSA spies. [Post]
General Motors Foundation gives $1 million to the National Museum of African American History [...]

DC Jazz Festival 2014 Lineup Announced

As it ages, the 2014 DC Jazz Festival is getting shorter: This year, it will run for six days from June 24 to June 29, down from nine days in 2013 and 10 the year before. But it's making the most of the tighter timeframe, according to the lineup the festival announced today.
Last year's one-night [...]

DC Jazz Festival: Pancho Sanchez’s Mambo de la Mediocre

Jazz, the writer Whitney Balliett said, is "the sound of surprise." Obviously that goes for Latin jazz too. But for all my comments yesterday about Poncho Sanchez's bending the idea of "straightforward," his set at the Hamilton was nothing if not straightforward. To a fault, in fact. If jazz sounds like surprise, the only thing [...]

DC Jazz Festival: A Conversation with Black Host’s Gerald Cleaver

Black Host is the brainchild of drummer Gerald Cleaver, one of the most technically proficient, versatile, and all-around enticing traps players in the world today. The quintet itself includes alto saxophonist Darius Jones, guitarist Brandon Seabrook, keyboardist Cooper-Moore, and bassist Pascal Niggenkemper. Their 2013 debut recording, Life in the Sugar Candle Mines, is so laden [...]

DC Jazz Festival: What to See Tonight and Saturday

For proof that the DC Jazz Festival is rapidly and thoroughly diversifying, look no further than the presence of guitarist Kenny Wessel on the bill. How many past renditions of the festival have included a onetime member of Ornette Coleman's revolutionary Prime Time ensemble?
But then, the fest has always been interested in a one-world approach [...]