Tuesday, July 16


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The lineup for the DC Jazz Festival was like a musical passport that allowed residents to travel around the world without leaving their neighborhoods. With everything from straight-ahead jazz and big band to swing and bebop, there’s something to fit every taste and budget.

“Approximately 100 jazz artists performed at 50 venues around Washington, representing 24 countries,” said Charles Fishman, president, executive producer and artistic director of the festival.  At Bossa Bistro’s free Jazz in the Hoods concert alone, the Berklee World Jazz Nonet from the world-renown Berklee College of Music represented nine countries.

“This diversity demonstrates the influence and power of jazz that permeates the world,”  Fishman, former personal manager and producer for jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie, pointed out.

Here is a taste of what the DC Jazz Festival had to offer.  Children can still take advantage of learning about jazz and listening to the music at http://www.neajazzintheschools.org.

Art & Jazz
The artsy concert at the Phillips Collection topped my list as a great way to end the day.  Talented pianist Janelle Gill was the featured performer along with flautist Jamal Brown and bassist Zack Pride.  Listeners made this event a family affair. They took pleasure in taking in jazz music, munching on hors d’oeuvres and viewing works of art.       

Island Rhythms
Listeners who enjoy being cozy with good affordable food and a nice earthy ambiance had even more fun listening to steel drum beats and jazz, for free, at JoJo’s Restaurant and Bar on U  Street.  JoJo’s was filled with a lively crowd jammin’ to Caribbean jazz featuring Victor Provost. The steel drum worked well with the trumpet, bass and drums during one of several Jazz in the Hood events. 

Captivating Cave
In what reminded me of a cool stalactite/stalagmite cave, the Bohemian Cavern also hosted U Street Jazz in the Hood concerts. For a cover, jazz enthusiasts were entertained by big band Brad Linde Ensemble on week one.  Whether you enjoyed the scatting, bebop or improvisation, the Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars Featuring Cyrus Chestnut, John Lee and Willie Jones III,  closed the DC Jazz Festival at the Bohemian Cavern in a big way.  They performed to a standing-room-only audience with surprise jam sessions with Roy Hargrove, Roberta Gambarini and Michael Dease to name a few.


About Author

Kim Betton is the founder and editorial director of SmoothJazzTimes.com. The award winning television anchor/reporter and producer has worked in markets across the U.S.. including NBC4 & USA Sky Radio in Washington, DC, WBKW-TV Buffalo, New York, FOX 13 News Memphis and KARK4 / FOX 16 News in Little Rock,. Kim has a true love for good music! She is also a jazz and off-Broadway musical vocalist. Her love for music and the arts inspired her to launch this magazine. If you have a story idea email her at kim@smoothjazztimes.com. Thanks for checking us out! Enjoy!

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