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2013 Festival Preview: Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival

The Hammond B-3 organ takes center stage at the 4th annual MAJF

Tim Warfield and Pat Bianchi at Cape May Jazz Festival
Gregory Porter

The fourth annual Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, scheduled for Feb. 15-18, produced by the Jazz Academy of Music, will spotlight the classic Hammond B-3 organ with a performance by tenorman Paul Carr, B-3 player Pat Bianchi, guitarist Bobby Broom and drummer Byron Landham.

“We wanted to dedicate the entire festival to the history of the organ because it’s undergoing a resurgence now,” said Carr, the president of the Jazz Academy of Music and one of the leading organizers of the festival. He said that the performance will aim to give a short history of the organ in jazz, followed by grooves that made the organ so popular in the ’50s and ’60s, and some original compositions. “It’s a very flexible instrument,” he said.

The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival will begin with a performance by the Orrin Evans Trio, with tenor saxophonist Tim Warfield as special guest. Gregory Porter will also perform, accompanied by the festival’s signature Mid-Atlantic Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Carr. “He’s a fabulous singer, he can perform in a lot of different formats,” said Carr of Porter.

MAFJ started as a resurrection of the former East Coast Jazz Festival, which aimed to showcase the finest of emerging and established D.C. talent in jazz, and has retained its focus on supporting music education, so it’s a great place to bring kids. “Jazz education is very important to the Mid-Atlantic Jazz festival,” said Carr.

The festival will feature a high school band competition, various workshops, clinics and interviews, to expose up-and-coming artists to a variety of information about jazz, along with performances by more than 30 prominent jazz artists. “All of the artists are very dedicated to keeping music alive and keeping it going,” he said.

Originally Published