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Washington Gets Set for 2nd Duke Ellington Jazz Festival


Jazzman Duke Ellington had millions of fans around the world, but perhaps his most-loyal audience was in his hometown, Washington, D.C. Duke's legacy lives on in Washington with the 2nd Annual Duke Ellington Jazz Festival.

Washington's thriving nightlife in the early-1900s, especially in and around the so-called U Street corridor, provided the perfect backdrop for Duke Ellington's youth. An aspiring pianist and composer, Duke gravitated toward the nightclubs and dancehalls alive with jazz, most notably the Howard Theater, True Reformer's Hall and the Bohemian Caverns. It was here that he formed his first band, Duke's Serenaders, before leaving Washington for New York City in 1923.

Today, U Street is again flourishing. Restaurants, shops, cafes and nightclubs are drawing residents and tourists back to the street once known as "The Black Broadway."

Also back for its second year, The Duke Ellington Jazz Festival.

For five days and nights in October (10/4-10/8), jazz music will blanket one corner of the city to the other with performances at U Street's historic Lincoln Theater and Bohemian Caverns. Other D.C. landmarks such as The Kennedy Center and Blues Alley will host events, capped by an all-day concert on the National Mall featuring Doctor John, The Roy Hargrove Quintet, Mavis Staples, John Scofield and Pancho Sanchez.

Along with an International Jazz Showcase, the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival will feature performances by Paquito D'Rivera, Janis Seigel, the Geri Allen Trio, the Roy Haynes Quartet, the Wallace Roney Sextet, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, and a Duke Ellington tribute concert led by jazz veteran Randy Weston.

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