The Duke Ellington Jazz Festival has annually featured an NEA Jazz Masters Concert, headlined by its newest inductee. In the case of 2008, that was to be Ramsey Lewis, the gospel-drenched pianist who scored a huge hit in 1965 with “The In Crowd” (recorded at D.C.’s Bohemian Caverns).
Alas, no more. Lewis, who was scheduled to play the concert on Saturday night, October 4, at the Lincoln Theatre, is having some health concerns and has had to withdraw from the festival. It’s a terrible shame, particularly if you were unable to attend his wonderful concert at the Kennedy Center this spring.
On the brighter side, however, this does free up the NEA concert bill to include the new-fangled Duke Ellington Orchestra. Or, if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can see Monty Alexander at Blues Alley; Sonny Fortune at Twins; or up-and-coming cellist Dana Leong at Busboys and Poets, all happening on October 4 as well. Yay jazz festival!