City-Wide DC Jazz Festival Keeps It Cool in June

DC Jazz Festival

Sax and the city: Though the name has changed (2009 was the last year of the “Duke Ellington Jazz Festival”), the DC Jazz Festival still features plenty of good music and grass sitting. (NCinDC via Flickr)

Summertime is a time for festivals, and music festivals are as good as any.

Lucky for the apartment renter in Washington, D.C., you have the DC Jazz Festival to wet your riff ’n’ saxophone whistle.

The DC Jazz Festival is no ordinary festival. It’s mammoth. “How big?” you ask, sitting at your laptop, drinking your tea or other caffeinated beverage. (I’m being polite here; who knows what a person like you drinks at your laptop or PC.) Let’s hear from the horse’s mouth itself.

“With more than 100 performances in dozens of venues across the city, the DC Jazz Festival is the largest music festival in Washington, D.C. and one of the most highly anticipated cultural events in the nation.”

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While those are indeed big boasts, I’m still marveling over the fact that the copywriter used “more than” instead of “over.” Then they go make the pedestrian error of not using a comma after D.C. As they say, you can’t have it all, so I’ll let that pass. Keep drinking your latte, and let me have a swig while you’re at it. I’m about to fall asleep here.

Let’s stop my stream-of-whatever and get down to brass tacks.

One hundred performances is quite a lot of anything, but the DC Jazz Festival does break them down into major and minor events (here is the full, exhaustive schedule). As you’d likely surmise, most of the participating venues are in the city’s Northwest quadrant. However, all four quadrants have venues scheduled to host something festival-related, making this a true citywide affair.

The major events, like Jazz on the National Mall on June 12 and A Night in Treme – The Musical Majesty of New Orleans (which I believe is sold out, sorry) at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on June 13 offer up jazz luminaries. Roy Hargrove’s RH Factor and the Eddie Palmieri All-Star Salsa Orchestra cook at the former, while the Rebirth Brass Band, saxophonist Donald Harrison Jr., and trombonist Big Sam Williams and his Big Sam’s Funky Nation swing at the latter.

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Maybe the biggest mainstream star on hand throughout the festival will be Bobby McFerrin, who earlier this week performed material from his 2010 release “VOCAbuLarieS” at the Warner Theatre.

The festival, which started June 1 and runs until June 13, will likely have something for every jazz lover, and even for music lovers looking to branch out a bit.

Ticket prices vary – for instance, the aforementioned Jazz on the National Mall event is free, but it’s safe to say most aren’t.

Really, get on the site and have a look around. There’s a lot going on. Sponsors include The Washington Post, WJLA-TV ABC 7 and Sage Communications.

So put down the beverage at the appropriate time, and come out and get jazzy.

Also you can view apartment listings in the area with Apartment Showcase. 

Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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