Blue Note Record's significance to modern music is as inarguable as its story is remarkable. Over its 75 year lifespan the label has recorded many of jazz's defining artists, its evolution tracing the trajectory of America's most significant musical form from its beginnings to its present day diverse manifestations. It is therefore especially auspicious that the celebration of its 75th anniversary took place at the Kennedy Center just as the center welcomes experimentalist Jason Moran as its now long-term artistic director, fulfilling a commitment to the musical form begun by the groundbreaking Billy Taylor when he established a ...read more
The saxophone is the most iconic of jazz instruments. Its image is all that is needed to invoke the music's essence, its history intimately entangled with the cultural arc of American music and urban culture. Its masters are the most recognized outside jazz circles and its sound most closely identified with the art form. To many, jazz is defined by the sax and the sax defined by jazz. For that reason, it was fitting that this year's Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Saxophone Competition divested itself of much of its hallmark pageantry, opting instead for a paired back ...read more
"Music is a powerful thing...fresh air for your life. You need jazz to breathe. It's just like oxygen." --Jimmy Junebug" Jackson Oxygen for the Ears: Living JazzOxygen for the Ears is a 2012 award-winning documentary film depicting the vibrancy of the jazz scene in the nation's capital. Made in three years by German-born astrophysicist Stefan Immler, the 94-minute documentary shows the city's key role in the past, present and future of jazz and is gaining attention for the filmmaker and his adopted city.The film was selected for 16 film festivals in the ...read more
Marking its 85th anniversary as a jazz venue, 2011 was a remarkable year for Washington, DC's Bohemian Caverns, solidifying its renewed reputation as DC's premier jazz club and a venue of national significance. The path to this point, however, was neither easy nor guaranteed. The smoky clubs, dark corner joints, impromptu lofts, theaters, noisy dinner clubs, and hidden basement bars of jazz are emblazoned in our collective imagination and provide definition to entire genres of film and literature, conjuring instantly lost eras and evoking a powerful sense of place and meaning for modern audiences to this day. ...read more
DC Jazz Festival 2011 Washington, DCJune 1-13, 2011 The DC Jazz Festival's seventh year was defined in equal measure by the event's now distinct combination of local acts and headline guests, spread throughout the city's stages, museums, and local clubs. Unlike many festivals, the DC Jazz Festival has maintained an exclusive focus on jazz music and continues to place a spotlight on the local musicians that now more than ever are converting DC back into a vibrant jazz city. The DC Jazz Festival recipe has come to rely on some stock ingredients--Roy Hargrove and Eddie ...read more
Monk Vocal CompetitionKennedy CenterWashington, D.C.October, 2010 One of the premier jazz events of the year, the annual Thelonious Monk competition rarely fails to deliver. Each year the jazz elite gather to celebrate the legacy of Thelonious Monk and to recognize up-and-coming talents of the jazz world via a competition that rotates among instruments. When hosted by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., an aura of political weight is inevitably added to the evening as Congressmen--and this year, President Barak Obama together with Michelle Obama--affix their names to the list of honoree ...read more
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