Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Bring the Real Jazz to DC area

Paul Carr and Randy Brecker at 2011 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival
It is about 5 weekends from the 3rd Annual Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival. The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival revives the legacy of the East Coast Jazz Festival that ran for 15 years starting in 1992. The ECJF originated in honor of Elmore “Fish” Middleton, a Washington, DC jazz radio programmer, whose commitment to promoting jazz music and supporting emerging jazz artists became the guiding principle behind the festival. The driving force of the ECJF was the late Ronnie Wells, a Washington DC jazz icon. After her passing, so did the ECJF.

Bassist Michael Bowie
Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival takes place at the Rockville, Maryland Hilton Hotel over the President’s Day Weekend. Under the auspices of Washington DC area saxophonist and educator, Paul Carr, the Festival has a focus on not simply bringing some of the best local and national jazz performers to the area, but to help nurture and support Jazz Education. Besides such notable performers like Roy Haynes, Terrell Stafford, Carmen Bradford and Nicholas Payton, the festival spotlights local artists like vocalist Sandra Johnson, guitarist Mark Mosely, and bassist Michael Bowie. There are master classes for aspiring jazz musicians, a jazz for mall boppers class, jam sessions, band competition for high school bands and more. There are also artist interviews, and much more.

The Festival opens on Friday night February 17 with highlights on the main stage being Winard Harper and the great vocalist Carmen Bradford backed by the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Orchestra conducted by Paul Carr. Saturday afternoon a highlight will be the Jazz Ain’t Dead Jazz Troupe featuring Maurice Chestnut. Saturday evening features the acclaimed Baltimore vibraphonist (and much more) Warren Wolf and the legendary Roy Haynes and the Fountain of Youth band with the terrific Jaleel Shaw on saxophone. Sunday afternoon has a focus on gospel with a play, “The Mahalia Jackson Story’ featuring vocalist Lavenia Nesmith. Sunday evening includes a Trumpet Summit featuring Brain Lynch, Nicholas Payton and Terrell Stafford and the evening concludes with Festival director Paul Carr’s Quintet with Terrell Stafford, Joey Calderazzo, Michael Bowie and Lewis Nash.

Nicholas Payton will be part of the Trumpet Summit.
He is seen here at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

As can be seen, this year's Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival will present another full weekend of great music. I had a blast at last year's Festival and look forward to more of the same. I hope to see some of you there. For more information check out the website, Here is a preview of the Festival.

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