Monday, November 21, 2016

Houston Person, Rene Marie and Etienne Charles Among Headliners For 2017 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival

 Houston Person

The line up for the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, to be held February 16th through 19th , 2017 at the Hilton Hotel in Rockville, MD has been announced with over 150 artists performing. Artist groups appearing on our main stage include Rene Marie, Houston Person, Etienne Charles, Vanessa Rubin, Kathy Kosins, Paul Carr, The Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Jazz Orchestra with guest conductor Delfeayo Marsalis, Russell Malone, Bobby Broom and Paul Bollenback and Steve Turre. A first this year for the MAJF Event and its producer the Jazz Academy of Music, is the pre-festival Mardi Gras fundraiser Gala featuring our own Jazz Academy Youth Orchestra opening for Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra. This pre-festival gala offers a New Orleans theme with New Orleans Jazz, New Orleans Cusines and New Orleans Fun. The Mardi Gras Galla will be held on Thursday February 16th, 2017 starting at 6pm at the Hilton. Proceeds from the Gala will support the Jazz Academy Education Programs. Also new for this year will be a Discovery Stage for which emerging artists can submit an application to Paul Carr, Executive and Artistic Director of the Festival. 

As stated this year opens with a Festival Gala on Thursday evening February 16 and features Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra. Also appearing will be the Jazz Academy of Music under Paul Carr's Direction. Friday Night opens on the Ronnie Wells Main Stage with the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Collegiate Orchestra, conducted by Delfeayo Marsalis followed by the wonderful vocalist Vanessa Rubin with tenor saxophonist Houston Person closing this evening's main stage. Herb Scott and Candice Bostwick will be performing in the MAJF Club and David Cole and Main Street Blues will be laying down blues in the MAJF Juke Joint. At Midnight, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the MAJF Midnight Jam Session with the Wes Biles Trio takes place in the MAJF Club.

Rene Marie

Saturday Afternoon has the "Mid-Atlantic "2017 Jazz Voice" Finals," the Festivals annual jazz vocal competition on the Ronnie Wells Main Stage. Performing in the MAJF Club in the afternoon are vocalist Chad Carter, the Terry Koger Sextet and Iva Jean Ambush and Ambuscade. Vocalist Iva Jean Ambush will be doing a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.

Saturday evening Kathy Kosins Group opens the Ronnie Wells Main Stage, followed by a Guitar Summit featuring: Russell Malone, Paul Bollenbeck, and Bobby Broom. Etienne Charles and Creole Soul, featuring the marvelous trumpeter will lose the Main Stage this evening. Performers in the MAJF Club this evening include Tacha Coleman Parr and Anthony Compton; and Maija Rejman, while Anthony "Swamp Dog" Clark will be performing in the MAJF Juke Joint.

Sunday morning has the traditional gospel brunch and MAJF Women's Collective featuring Akua Allrich, Janelle Gill, Amy Shook, Savannah Harris are the first afternoon act on the Ronnie Wells Main Stage. Also in the Main Stage will be the Greg Hatza Organization and the Lavenia Nesmith Group who will perform a Tribute to Nancy Wilson. The Lovejoy Group and Petra Martin.

The Festival's last evening has a Tribute to Paul Carr Featuring the Paul Carr's Bantam Orchestra; the Steve Turre Quartet featuring the famed trombonist and conch shell player; and the terrific vocalist Rene Marie. The Festival concludes with the MAJF Midnight Jam Session with the Wes Biles Trio. There are likely some other performers that will be added including those at the Discovery Stage. There are also workshops, interviews with artists, screenings of film, a High School Big Band Competition and more.

Etienne Charles

The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival continues 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.

As stated on its website “The Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival (MAJF) represents an auspicious renewal of the spirit and intent of the ECJF, as a showcase for some of the DC area’s finest established and emerging artists, student ensembles, and a healthy dose of renowned touring jazz artists as well. MAJF is designed to take the ECJF mid-winter jazz festival tradition to the next level and to further enhance arts & culture in the Washington, DC region.” 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. As seen in my brief description of the Festival performances, this remains true.

For more information on the Festival, including hotel accommodations, visit

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