Jazz great Duke Ellington once said, "If it sounds good and feels good then it is good." Washington, D.C.'s premier jazz festival, named in Duke's honor, promises all of the above and more.
The Duke Ellington Jazz Festival celebrated its fifth anniversary with a tribute to the "Birthplace of Jazz," New Orleans, Louisiana. Some of the Crescent City's most seasoned musicians will be playing in Washington's finest halls, including five members of the Marsalis family, pianist Ellis Marsalis and his sons Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo and Jason.
For 11 days and nights, dozens of clubs, hotels, restaurants and art galleries hosted traditional New Orleans jazz, funk and soul, "Jazz and Families Fun Day," "New Orleans on the Potomac," "Jazz at the Madison Hotel," the Berklee College of Music All Stars, student concerts and master classes. For a taste of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, there were a series of outdoor events called "New Orleans on the National Mall."
Accordion master Buckwheat Zydeco came to the National Mall with a lineup worthy of the final day of the New Orleans Jazz Fest, including trumpeters Terence Blanchard and Nicholas Payton, "Trombone Shorty", bluesman "Little" Freddie King, saxophonist Donald Harrison, The Rebirth Brass Band, Bob French's Original Tuxedo Band, and the "Soul Queen of New Orleans" Irma Thomas.
Standing in the shadows of the Washington Monument, The Duke Ellington Orchestra honored its founder with a performance of Ellington's "New Orleans Suite." Meantime, across town at the Embassy of France, the Festival's Artistic Director, Paquito D' Rivera, presented an evening with New Orleans clarinetist, composer and noted music historian Dr. Michael White.
The 5th Annual Duke Ellington Jazz Festival culminates with an all-star show at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, "Celebrating a Jazz Master: Ellis Marsalis." Joining the Marsalis family on closing night were pianist Dr. Billy Taylor, drummer Herlin Riley, bassist Eric Revis and crooner Harry Connick, Jr.