The Silver Spring Jazz Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with Grammy Award® -winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis headlining and also featuring Marcus Johnson, the Noah Haidu Quintet and the National Philharmonic’s jazz quartet, Songbook. The free program takes place on Saturday, September 7, from 4:30 to 10 p.m. at Veterans Plaza in front of the Silver Spring Civic Building on the corner of Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street.
“As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of this annual music festival that has featured some of the premier jazz musicians of our time, I hope jazz fans throughout the area will join us for another exciting lineup of top-notch musical entertainment,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “Over the past decade, Montgomery County has hosted this annual festival that has gained a reputation as one of the region’s ‘not-to-be-missed’ musical events of the year.”
Each year, the festival has presented a mix of many genres, including straight ahead, smooth, Latin and other popular jazz forms. During its first decade, the festival has featured headliners such as Wynton Marsalis, Arturo Sandoval, Spyro Gyra, Aaron Neville, Sergio Mendes, The Mingus Big Band and a host of other jazz greats.
Following is a description of this year’s line-up:
Branford Marsalis - Having gained initial acclaim through his work with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and his brother Wynton’s quintet in the early 1980s, Branford Marsalis also performed and recorded with a who’s who of jazz giants including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins. He has collaborated with diverse artists such as Sting, the Grateful Dead and Bruce Hornsby. His varied interests are further reflected in his explorations in film, radio and television, including his role as the musical director of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” for two years in the early 1990s. In 2011, the National Endowment for the Arts conferred the prestigious Jazz Masters Fellowship on the Marsalis Family, a celebration and acknowledgement of a family described by The New York Times as “jazz’s most storied living dynasty,” which has made an indelible mark, collectively and individually, on the history and the future of jazz, America’s art form. During their performance, the Branford Marsalis Quartet will feature ambitious original compositions by members of the band from their August 2012 album, a Thelonious Monk classic, and several jazz standards and all-time fan favorites.
Marcus Johnson - Homegrown star Marcus Johnson, an extraordinary jazz keyboardist and composer, will perform his own compositions, a blend of contemporary jazz stylings and hip-hop rhythms. He describes his music as “instrumental R&B with a D.C. bounce.” Johnson began playing the piano at age nine, and from there, he wanted to “create classics, not just hit songs.” As a founding member of the Silver Spring Jazz Festival, he has launched both a record label and a popular wine label.
The Noah Haidu Quintet - Pianist and composer Noah Haidu swings hard with memorable melodies and soulful grooves. He was exposed early on to all kinds of music: classical, avant-garde, rock and jazz, but he was increasingly drawn to jazz and blues piano. One of New York’s leading young jazz pianists, Haidu combines new rhythmic ideas, harmonic sophistication, spontaneity, soul and swing into his own unique musical approach. He has just released “Momentum”, his first trio recording.
National Philharmonic presents Songbook - A merging of the National Chamber Orchestra and Masterworks Chorus in 2003 created the National Philharmonic, an ensemble with a 55-year combined history of high caliber musical performances in the local area. The National Philharmonic will present Songbook, a jazz quartet composed of members of the National Philharmonic. The group will present a wide range of musical stylings, including two contemporary jazz classics by Wayne Shorter: "Aung San Sui Kyi" and "Footprints".
The Silver Spring Jazz Festival is presented by Montgomery County Government, the Celebrate Downtown Silver Spring Foundation, Montgomery County Recreation and The Silver Spring Urban District. Corporate sponsors include: AFI Silver; Comcast; The Gazette; Home Properties, Inc.; Live Nation; The Silver Spring Courtyard by Marriott; and WUSA-TV.
Attendees are encouraged to use public transportation – the Silver Spring Metro (Red Line) is two blocks away – and to bring folding chairs. Limited parking is available in the Wayne Avenue garage, the Town Square garage and the garages on Bonifant Street, Cameron at Ramsey Avenue and Cameron at Fenton Street.
For more information, call 240-777-6821 or visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.
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