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DC’s Duke Ellington Jazz Festival announces Sept. lineup

The Duke Ellington Jazz Festival will run Sept. 9-17. The third annual DC festival will honor Dizzy Gillespie’s 90th birthday and his remarkable contribution to jazz and 20th century music-his leading role in integrating Latin, African and Caribbean rhythms and styles into modern jazz.

The lineup-announced at the end of April in celebration of Ellington’s birthday and national Jazz Appreciation month-unites top national and international jazz artists, many of whom cite Gillespie as a mentor, and all as an influence.

Programs will include “In the Footsteps of Dizzy,” a concert featuring Dizzy followers like Panamanian pianist Danilo Perez, Brazilian trumpeter Claudio Roditi, Puerto Rican saxophonist David Sanchez, American trombonist Steve Turre, Roy Hargrove and his jazz/hip-hop fusion ensemble the RH Factor. The festival will also include the Annual NEA Jazz Masters Concert featuring Jimmy Heath, James Moody, Clark Terry and Slide Hampton.

The festival’s main event, the free all-day Jazz on the Mall, will bring together alumni of Gillespie’s Grammy Award-winning United Nation Orchestra including Paquito D’Rivera (pictured) & the United Nation Orchestra, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Orchestra, which will highlight Gillespie’s international impact and role as musical ambassador.

Other artists scheduled to appear include international vocalists Roberta Gambarini (Italy) and Somi (Africa), American singer Nnenna Freelon, and Washingtonian acts Afro Blue and Step Afrika.

Additional special events include an international jazz stage at the Kennedy Center, family concerts, a feature film on Dizzy at the Library of Congress, and an opening gala concert led by D’Rivera.

The festival combines international jazz superstars with focus on local talent and venues, highlighting the festival’s mission of making jazz accessible and bringing people together in the spirit of jazz. More detailed information be available soon on the DEJF Web site.

Originally Published