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DC Jazz Festival Announces First Round of Performers

Joshua Redman and Kenny Garrett are among the headliners; applications now open for DCJazzPrix band competition

Joshua Redman
Joshua Redman at the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival (photo: Marek Lazarski)

The 16th annual DC Jazz Festival will include performances by Joshua Redman, Kenny Garrett, Lakecia Benjamin, the Eubanks-Evans Experience, and many more over its 10-day span this summer.

The festival is set for June 12-20 and will take place in 40 venues across 25 neighborhoods within the District of Columbia, including locations in all of the city’s four quadrants and eight wards.

The first-round lineup also includes Cyrus Chestnut, Pedrito Martinez, Donald Harrison, Antonio Hart, T.K. Blue, Matt Wilson’s Honey & Salt, Shabaka & the Ancestors, Warren Wolf, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Jamie Baum & Short Stories, Matthew Whitaker, Laurin Talese, and the Washington Renaissance Orchestra. Many more local, national, and international jazz artists are still to be announced.

In addition, applications are open for the 2020 DCJazzPrix, the festival’s international competition for emerging jazz bands. The contest is a unique one that focuses not on individual artists, but on regular working ensembles with stable personnel. (A contestant band’s membership is not permitted to change after its DCJazzPrix application has been submitted.) The bands compete for a $15,000 cash prize and a performance at the Festival’s closing concert at the Wharf. (Last year’s winner, the North Carolina-based Ernest Turner Trio, returns to perform at the 2020 DC Jazz Festival on June 20.)

The application process, which carries a $49 entry fee for each band, closes on March 3. More information about the DCJazzPrix is available at its website.

For more information about the DC Jazz Festival, visit

Read Miles Willis’ JazzTimes review of the 2019 DC Jazz Festival.