Saturday, September 01, 2012

22nd Annual Rosslyn Jazz Fest Offsets Late Summer Blues

Rosslyn Jazz Festival provides a whole day of great jazz. This picture is from 2007 Rossyln Jazz Festival
Saturday, September 8, 2012 (a week from when this entry is originally posted), the free 22nd Annual Rosslyn Jazz Festival takes place at Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Hwy. (at N. Lynn St.), Arlington, VA (2 blocks from the Rosslyn Metro Station and near the Key Bridge). The Festival takes place from 1:00PM to 7:00PM and is sponsored by the Rosslyn BID, and co-presented by Arlington Cultural Affairs. The event will be emceed by on-air personalities from jazz station WPFW 89.3 FM, which will broadcast portions of the event live.

This year the Rosslyn Jazz Festival has a truly outstanding line-up that includes the Howard University’s premier vocal jazz ensemble, Afro Blue; the award-winning vocalist Rene Marie; clarinetist, saxophonist, composer, arranger, and social critic Don Byron; and two-time Grammy nominee, saxophonist Joshua Redman.
The Howard University vocal ensemble Afro Blue at the 2008 Duke Ellington Jazz Festival
Afro Blue. Formed by Professor Connaitre Miller in 2002, the group just released their 3rd CD, The Best Is Yet to Come. Over eight years, Afro Blue has received nine Down Beat Magazine Student Music Awards, including Best Graduate College Vocal Jazz Ensemble for 2009, 2010 and 2011. Afro Blue made the 2011 finals in NBC’s reality show competition, The Sing-Off. Here is a video of them performing.

RenĂ© Marie, the award-winning, Warrenton, VA-born singer whose style incorporates elements of jazz, soul, blues and gospel, is a heroine to many. Since her debut recording, Renaissance, the singer has evolved into one of the most intriguing vocalists of our time. With her latest release Voice of My Beautiful Country (Motema Music), listeners will hear her trademark vocals but will also be struck by the wide variety of songs that she interprets - from Motown to Tin Pan Alley to “America the Beautiful.” Here is a video of her in performance.

Don Byron has explored widely divergent traditions, while continually striving for what he calls "a sound above genre." The Bronx-native has consistently been voted best clarinetist in the leading international music journals, since being named “Jazz Artist of the Year” by Down Beat in 1992. His latest project, Love, Peace and Soul (his debut recording with the Don Byron New Gospel Quintet), is the result of an ongoing re-awakening of his own faith. With jazz as a springboard, his stellar band mine the historical riches of American Gospel music via the spirit and pioneering songs of founding father Thomas A. Dorsey and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Here is a video of the Don Byron New Gospel Quintet in performance.

Joshua Redman is one of today’s most acclaimed and charismatic jazz artists. Born in Berkeley, California, he is the son of legendary saxophonist Dewey Redman and dancer Renee Shedroff. After graduating from Harvard summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Social Studies, Redman relocated to Brooklyn and immersed himself in the New York jazz scene. In 1993, his first self-titled album earned Redman his first Grammy nomination. In addition to his own projects, Redman has recorded and performed with musicians such as Dave Brubeck, Herbie Hancock, Milt Jackson, B.B. King, Yo Yo Ma, Paul Motian, Dianne Reeves, Clark Terry, and Stevie Wonder. Here is a video of him with an outstanding band.

This is another stunning line-up of jazz for those living in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. There will be some outstanding food options available from regional vendors. For more info, call (703) 228-1850 or visit or Plenty to enjoy on September 8 and I hope many of you can make it for a terrific afternoon of jazz.

The two photos are © Ron Weinstock

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