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Ahh, it comes ’round again—-the big event, the area’s jazz gig of the year: The D.C. Jazz Festival, scheduled this year for June 1-13. The lineup was announced today.
Some good news: The festival’s signature event, Jazz on the National Mall, returns after last year’s absence, with a new sponsor (Bing). The free daylong concert this year includes harmonica player Frédéric Yonnet; Chilean singer Claudia Acuña; star trumpeter (and festival favorite) Roy Hargrove and his hip-hop-leaning ensemble The RH Factor; and the Puerto Rican pianist Eddie Palmieri, leading his All-Star Salsa Orchestra. (June 12)
There’s also a new venue on the festival calendar, The Warner Theatre, where vocal polymath Bobby McFerrin performs with the Howard University Afro-Blue Reunion Choir. (June 13)
Bohemian Caverns also kicks its relationship with the festival up a notch, with three major-artist performances. The great pianist Cyrus Chestnut and his quartet perform on June 3 and 4; eclectic alto saxophonist Antonio Hart and his quintet on June 8 and 9; and the quintet led by the Legendary Heath Brothers, saxophonist Jimmy and drummer Tootie.
And, as has become traditional, the festival closes things out at the Kennedy Center on June 13, with a showcase called “A Night in Tremé: The Musical Majesty of New Orleans.” On the bill are saxophonist Donald Harrison, the Rebirth Brass Band, clarinetist Dr. Michael White, trombonist Big Sam Williams, and trumpeter James Andrews, along with emcee Wendell Pierce, star of HBO’s Treme.
As usual, the festival divides these shows with a lineup of local talents. Not all of this side of the lineup is solidified yet, but those who are can be found on the festival’s website.