Saturday, December 28, 2013

Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Returns Standing Up For The Real Jazz

Christian McBride will be a featured performer
 at the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival
Presidents Day Weekend is always a reason for celebration for jazz-lovers in the Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia area as the annual Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival returns. Standing up for real jazz, this year’s edition “will celebrate  the soulful side of Real Jazz, otherwise known as ‘Soul Jazz.”  Among those featured will be the legendary Les McCann who will lead a group that includes saxophonist Javon Jackson. But there is much more to be heard Friday Evening February 14 through Sunday night February 16 at the Hilton Washington DC/Rockville Hotel & Executive Meeting Center, 1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

The Festival is organized under the leadership of saxophonist, composer and educator Paul Carr as a showcase and benefit for his Jazz Academy of Music. Performances along with workshops and educational programs characterize this event. Notable performers appearing this year include vocalists Giacoma Gates, Vanessa Rubin and Freddie Cole for Friday Night’s kickoff the Ronnie Wells Main Stage performance. Area vocalists Kristin Callahan and Heidi Martin will perform in the MAJF Club Room, while David Cole will play the blues in the Juke Joint.

Vocalist Sharon Clark

Saturday, February 15, there will be atrium performances by a variety of high school bands. At noon in the Main Stage, the Festival will present the first The Mid-Atlantic "Jazz Voice"--Vocal Competition. Next on the main stage will be three of the area’s preeminent vocalists, Sharon Clark, Dick Smith, and Lena Seikaly backed by the Chris Grasso Trio. The Ronnie Wells Main Stage that evening will present the Gary Bartz Quartet, a Trombone Summit with Delfeayo Marsalis, Frank Lacy and Steve Turre with the Christian McBride Trio closing the main stage. On Staurday, highlights of the Club Stage include Aaron Seeber Quartet (with saxophonist Tim Green); vocalists Janine Gilbert-Carter and Chad Carter; and Nadine Rae will be shouting her soulful blues in the Juke Joint.

Delfeayo Marsalis
Sunday, February 16 opens with saxophonist Bobby Watson and the Howard University Jazz Ensemble on the Main Stage. Vocalist Dee Daniels will be backed by the Eric Bryd Trio and then the legendary Benny Golson Quartet cones on. Starting the evening on the Main Stage will be trombonist Reginald Cyntje and his Group that includes steel pan player Victor Provost. Cyntje’s CD “Love” was one of the most impressive and moving new jazz releases by a Washington DC area artist in 2013. After Cyntje will be the pairing of Les McCann and Javon Jackson with the festival’s headline set. Paul Carr closes the Festival main stage with a tribute to the late pianist Mulgrew Miller with a group with Bruce Barth on piano and Steve Nelson on vibes. 

Gary Bartz
Performances in the MAJF Club sunday include the Kenny Rittenhouse Septet, The Jazz Academy Orchestra featuring Delfeayo Marsalis, and Leslie Sumney. Linwood Taylor will be playing in the Juke Joint. This night, like the other evenings, will conclude with a midnight jam in the club room led by Wes ‘Sugar’ Biles. For more information (including ticket packages and accommodations) and to support real jazz, visit the festival’s website,

All photos © Ron Weinstock

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