Ok kids. It’s the annual DC Jazz Festival and you should go. Because for all the criticism DC gets about it’s lack of art scene, conservatism, trend-unawareness etc., one of the things we do have, and have always had, is jazz. Duke Ellington, Shirley Horn, Billy Taylor, and Frank Wess (among others) all hailed from our town, while jazz clubs are scattered all about the city if you know where to look. I know I will be stopping by.
The DC Jazz Festival is the city’s biggest jazz show. For the past five years it has been called the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival, a name planners changed this year in order to focus more on the city’s jazz legacy rather than the individual. The festival, like most things, has hit tough economic times this year, dropping their large concert on the Mall as well as their closing concert at Voice of America. However, these large events have been replaced by a proliferation of small ones, many of which are free (or like $5) and take place everywhere from museums, to bars, to supper clubs, to concert halls. The entire schedule is here.
There are 4+ events PER DAY. DCist also lists their favorite event each day and a runner up (full list here). I would look at the full list and the DCist one since I know very little about jazz so can’t give an educated recommendation to you all. But here are some of DCist’s FREE top picks:
- June 2: The Berklee World Jazz Nonet on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. 6 p.m. Free
- June 3: Janelle Gil (piano) at The Phillips Collection. 5 p.m. Free
- June 5: The Lena Seikaly Quartet (jazz vocals) at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel‘s Empress Lounge. 7:30 p.m. Free
- June 6: Project Natale at Eastern Market Music. 1 p.m. Free
- June 9: Brazillian dance troupe Zezeh Brazil at the Bossa Bistro & Lounge. 8 p.m. Free
Included in the top picks are also ticketed events (not listed), but the most expensive tickets seem to be around $40, which really isn’t bad for the quality and the venue. Most are around $20. I mean, $20 and you can go to a supper club and have food and listen to wonderful jazz!!! Perfect date. So GO.