Thursday, January 04, 2018

Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Returns President's Day Weekend

 Warren Wolf and Joe Locke will be featured at a Vibes Summit on Saturday night February 17.

Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Returns to Rockville MD, President's Day Weekend, February 16-18, 2018. Presented by the Jazz Academy of Music to support and spotlight Jazz Education as well as present a range of top-notch Jazz performances, this year's Festival will be highlighted by a Jazz Vibes summit, and several stellar Jazz Vocalists. Headline performers include Warren Wolf, Jazzmeia Horn, Buster Williams, Joe Locke, Paul Carr, Carmen Bradford, Wycliffe Gordon, Eric Byrd Trio, Matthew Whittaker, Craig Handy and Carmen Lundy It takes place at the Hilton Washington DC/Rockville Hotel Executive Meeting Center, 1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

The Festival is held in various stages at the Hotel. The main stage is the Ronnie Wells Main Stage, and on Friday Night will have performances by Warren Wolf and the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate All Stars featuring the Baltimore, Maryland native who is a great vibraphone player, and currently a member of the San Francisco Jazz Ensemble. He played several years with Christian McBride as well as led his own groups. He will be followed by vocalist Jazzmeia Horn (seen in the video above), winner of the 2015 Thelonious Monk International Vocal Competition and who has worked with such artists as Winard Harper (with whom she has appeared at a prior MAJF), Junior Mance, Billy Harper, Delfeayo Marsalis, Mike LeDonne, Peter Bernstein, Johnny O’Neal, Vincent Herring, Kirk Lightsey, Frank Wess, and Ellis Marsalis. She thrilled audiences at the Kennedy Center last season and will be joined by saxophonist Joel Frahm for her performance here. Closing out the Friday Night performances will be the great Buster Williams and Something More. Williams, one of the great jazz bassists of all time has worked with a who's who of modern jazz including Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Carmen McRae, Chet Baker, Chick Corea, Dexter Gordon, Jimmy Heath, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, Herbie Hancock, Larry Coryell, Lee Konitz, McCoy Tyner, Illinois Jacquet, Nancy Wilson, Elvin Jones, Miles Davis, the Jazz Crusaders, Ron Carter, Woody Shaw, Sarah Vaughan, Benny Golson, Mary Lou Williams, Hank Jones, and so many more.

Saturday afternoon's program on the Ronnie Wells stage will include two Discovery Acts selected from performers who submitted to Paul Carr’s 2018 Discovery Act Competition. There performance will be followed by Lydia Harrell, the Boston-based winner of the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Voice competition. Saturday evening's performance starts with the Paul Carr Quartet with special guest, vocalist Carmen Bradford (Seen above with the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Orchestra at the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival). Carr is a strong, hard-bop centered saxophonist as well as educator and will have the great Ms. Bradford, formerly with Count Basie as part of his set.  After his set there will be a Vibes Summit with Warren Wolf, Joe Locke and another player to be announced. The evening closes with a performance by trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Orchestra.

Sunday afternoon opens with Carmen Bradford and the Jazz Academy Orchestra which is followed by the Eric Byrd Trio. The Baltimore based Byrd is a superb pianist rooted in blues and gospel as well as bop and they will celebrate their new CD release "Saints Are Still Marching." They will be followed by one of my favorite singers from the DMV area, Janine Gilbert-Carter (seen in video above from 2009 where she was backed with Eric Byrd and others) who also has a new release, "My Foolish Heart." Sunday evening opens with a fabulous young pianist, Matthew Whitaker, followed by saxophonist Craig Handy and Second Line Smith with another great vocalist, Carmen Lundy closing out the main stage.

In addition to the Main Stage, there are many performers in the more intimate MAJF Club, including saxophonists Terry Koger and Braxton Cook (seen above), and vocalists Candice Bostwick, Petra Martin, and Chad Carter. Every night the Wes Biles Trio hosts a jam session in the MAJF Club. There are also a number of High School Big Band and Ensembles that perform with the High School Band Competition Finals taking place Saturday Afternoon in the Ronnie Wells Main Stage. There are also Films show, artist interviews and workshops for young musicians offered during the Festival.

The festival is presented by the Jazz Academy of Music. The Jazz Academy of Music Inc, a non-profit 501c3 organization, established in 2002, is a manifestation of a longtime dream of Paul Carr (seen performing at the 2011 Mid-Atalntic Jazz Festival), its Music Director, to extend the music education opportunities afforded him, as an inner city youth, to others. The Jazz Academy programs draw from and build upon the disciplines of music education Paul experienced in his youth. The mission of the Academy is to advance and preserve Jazz music through education. Its website is

For more information on the performers and the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, including artist bios (and video clips), tickets, accommodations and more, visit or email

No comments: