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DC Jazz Festival to roll out over 120 acts in 80 neighborhoods

Written By | Jun 7, 2015

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2015 – Touting itself as the fastest growing jazz festival in the U.S., the 2015 D.C. Jazz Festival will welcome a diverse selection of locally, nationally and internationally acclaimed artists performing in venues across the Nation’s Capital this week from Wednesday  to June 16.

As the area’s largest and most diverse music festival, boasting more than 125 performances in nearly 60 venues across the city, the DCJF reaches more than 60,000 visitors of all ages each year.

“As a supporter of the DC Jazz Festival for the last seven years, we are proud to be associated with the overall growth of the festival and in particular, Jazz in the ‘Hoods,” said Erik A. Moses, managing director of Events DC’s sports and entertainment division. “The Jazz in the ‘Hoods series brings people together to enjoy great jazz in a variety of DC’s coolest neighborhood venues,” he noted.

Presented by Events DC, Jazz in the ‘Hoods represents an exciting partnership with local clubs, restaurants, hotels and galleries in celebration of jazz in our nation’s capital. The wide-ranging schedule of events takes place in over 40 D.C. venues with more than 80 performances in 21 neighborhoods throughout the city by a mix of local and nationally recognized artists.

Jazz in the ‘Hoods showcases a virtual cornucopia of nationally and internationally acclaimed artists and numerous outstanding D.C.-based jazz groups.


Thundercat, one of the featured artists performing in the DC Jazz Loft Series concerts. (This and all photos in this article courtesy of the DC Jazz Festival website)

Offering a variety of free and ticketed performances in neighborhoods including Adams Morgan, Capitol Hill, Chinatown, Downtown, Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, Georgetown, Mount Pleasant, the H Street Corridor, Southeast, Southwest, Takoma Park, the U Street Corridor and Woodley Park, Jazz in the ‘Hoods annually attracts a vibrant audience of thousands of music enthusiasts.

“Jazz in the Hoods is a classic manifestation of the DC Jazz Festival’s diverse, ‘big tent’ offerings, partnering with vibrant spaces and adventurous presenters around town to bring exciting artistry to our community,” said Willard Jenkins, the DCJF’s artistic director.

For the fifth consecutive year, Jazz in the ‘Hoods will include CapitalBop’s DC Jazz Loft Series. A partnership of DC Jazz Festival and CapitalBop, the DC Jazz Loft Series will present young, boundary-breaking musicians as well as D.C.-based artists, all grounded in the tradition of jazz and its extensions, often performing in unusual or pop-up venues. This is a “pay-what-you-can” series designed to attract the broadest spectrum of attendees, including young, first-time audiences.

Esperanza Spalding, one of the headliners at DC JazzFest at the Yards Saturday, June 13, 2015.

Esperanza Spalding, who will be one of the headliners at DC JazzFest at the Yards Saturday

The DC Jazz Loft Series launches the neighborhood performance schedule Thursday at The Hecht Company warehouse, located along the New York Avenue NE Corridor. Running through the Jazz Fest’s first weekend, the series will offer 80 performances at over 40 neighborhood venues as part of the festival’s ongoing support of Jazz in the “Hoods.”

Additional concert and event schedules during the Jazzfest are these:

DC JazzFest at The Yards is a two-day “blowout” event “where fans will enjoy jazz at the beautiful urban, green, innovative Yards Park at Capitol Riverfront and a marketplace including beverage and food tastings and activities.  Sponsored by Events DC and the DC JazzFest, this will be the festival’s feature launch event, taking place on Friday and Saturday.

The Friday free kickoff music event features fabled New Orleans brass/funk band the Soul Rebels and world-renowned songstress Sharón Clark, a DCJF gift to the D.C. community and Festival patrons from around the world.

Pepe Gonzalez.

Pepe Gonzalez will appear as part of the EAST RIVER JazzFEST series.

The Saturday ticketed show will include multiple award-winner Common, Grammy-winner Esperanza Spalding Presents: Emily’s D+Evolution, Nigerian Afrobeat sensation Femi Kuti and the Positive Force, and perennial D.C. favorite, saxophonist Marshall Keys.

The EAST RIVER JazzFEST returns for its fourth year. In collaboration with East River Jazz, this “festival within a festival” will present free jazz performances and programs to thousands of residents, at theaters, museums, places of worship, libraries and senior centers east of the Anacostia River. All EAST RIVER JazzFEST performances will celebrate American composer Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington’s chief collaborator.

Snarky Puppy.

Snarky Puppy, part of the DC Jazz Fest’s program at the Hamilton.

DC Jazzfest at the Hamilton Live takes place from June 10-16 and features seven nights of exciting, eclectic performances. Performers include artists like NEA Jazz Master Paquito D’Rivera, Grammy Award winning instrumental fusion band Snarky Puppy; guitarist, composer and bandleader Charlie Hunter; multi-genre drummer Stanton Moore; Columbian harpist Edmar Castaneda; and saxophonist Joshua Redman in partnership with the genre-bending trio The Bad Plus.

Sixth and I Historic Synagogue special event: The Cookers. This brand new all-star septet brings back that aggressive mid ‘60s spirit with a program offering post-bop originals “marked by all the requisite killer instincts and pyrotechnic playing expected of some of the heaviest hitters on the scene today,” as described on the Jazzfest’s website.

The Cookers.

The Cookers are the featured musical act at a special concert at the historic 6th and I Synagogue.

Jazz N’ Families Fun Days is actually a free festival prequel, taking place Sunday. It’s billed as a fun family weekend with live jazz music being performed in the Music Room and galleries of the Phillips Collection (1600 21st Street, NW). Also on tap: an instrument petting zoo, art-making activities, a scavenger hunt and much more.

The University of the District of Columbia is partnering with DC JazzFest on music and education programs, including a bossa nova exhibition from the Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives, launching in June and running the entire summer. The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage will host the Discovery Series, five free concerts highlighting up-and-coming young artists.  And, Transparent Productions, the DC area’s purveyor of cutting edge performances, will bring their unique flavor to the Festival.

Participating venue partners include Bohemian Caverns, Twins Jazz, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Atlas Performing Arts Center, and Gallery on H. National Gallery of Arts Sculpture Garden and THEARC will host the EAST RIVER JazzFEST Series.

For more information about the DCJF and its activities, including times, locations, tickets and pricing for ticketed events, and travel and parking advisories and information, visit

Malcolm Barnes

As a credentialed professional photo journalist, Mr. Barnes writes for the SQUARE BUSINESS journal, served as the Business Editor and columnist for the Washington Informer, and as the Community Development writer for The Common Denominator newspaper.