The Dalai Lama is currently in town in the nation’s capitol for a sit-down with the President, but for jazz fans the excitement is taking place just outside the city. The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival (which took the place of the East Coast Jazz Festival, run by the late Ronnie Wells) kicks off this weekend. Among the performers scheduled to appear at the festival in Rockville, Maryland in suburban Washington, D.C. Events take place at the Hilton Hotel in Rockville.
Among the artists slated to appear at the festival are Mulgrew Miller, Bobby Watson, Marc Cary, Lewis Nash, Paul Carr (who doubles as artistic director), Terell Stafford, Sharon Clark and Imani.
In addition to the performances and various educational workshops, Bret “The Jazz Video Guy” Primack will be showing videos from his collection. And JT’s Larry Appelbaum will be doing two separate Before & After interview sessions, one on Friday night with saxophonist Watson and the other with pianist Cary on Saturday night.
Appelbaum said that doing these live sessions in public settings is a bit different than the usual interviews done in private. “The B&A’s we do in public settings have a different vibe because the audience is part of it..” explained Appelbaum. “In private, it’s sometimes easier for musicians to relax and focus on listening and delving deeper. It’s more personal and conversational. When there is an audience of people listening and watching, there is that sense of being on the spot, giving and getting instant feedback. But there is also a risk that certain introspective musicians might become self-conscious and overly careful with their opinions. On the other hand, when I did one with Lou Donaldson at the Portland Jazz Festival, he just let it rip. So you never know, which is what makes it interesting.”
For more information, go to the festival’s web site.