Published since 2002
Franz Matzner has contributed interviews and coverage from the Kennedy Center since 2002.
Hosted by James Earl Jones, the "Jazz in Our Time festival will stretch from March 3 to March 10th, and will comprise twelve concerts, featuring performances by Nancy Wilson, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, violinist Regina Carter, drummer T.S. Monk, pianist Cyrus Chestnut, Ahmad Jamal, Jimmy Heath, the Hank Jones Quartet, vocalist Roberta Gambarini, Paquito D'Rivera and Clark Terry. And if past Kennedy Center events provide any indication, audiences should arrive expecting a plethora of top-notch special guests.
The main events will occur March 3rd, 4th, 9th, and 10th, while eight additional shows will take place on the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, a free venue typically dedicated to multiple art forms, but for this week reserved to documenting the arc of jazz's historical development by showcasing a different era of jazz each night, from 1920's ragtime to modern jazz/hip-hop crossover.
Most importantly, while many musical tribute events suffer from an undue emphasis on lengthy congratulatory remarks and long-winded acceptance speeches, the Kennedy Center consistently strikes a balance between acknowledging the historical merit of the event and remembering that the best way to honor musicians is to put on a solid, room-rocking night of entertainment. A survey of the scheduled performerssome of which have admittedly become staple Kennedy Center attractionsindicates that this could evolve into a truly once-in-a-life-time event, particularly if the Kennedy Center lives up to its track record of bringing to the stage numerous unexpected performers and unpredictable twists.
In short, the "Jazz in Our Time tribute promises to fulfill the Kennedy Center's dual charge, as our National Performing Arts Center, of serving the community as both an educational and entertainment facility. Fortunate to be classified as a congressionally-funded, non-profit entity, it is doubly rewarding to see this privileged status interpreted, in the jazz arena at least, as an opportunity to embrace jazz's past while exposing audiences to the topography of modern jazz culture.
Living Legend Jazz Award honorees include:
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