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DC Jazz Fest at the Yards

Kamasi, Ravi, Revive Big Band and more close 10-day festival

Igmar Thomas conducts the Revive Big Band at the 2016 DC Jazz Festival, as special guest Ravi Coltrane looks on
Special guest Ravi Coltrane (left) and Revive Big Band director Igmar Thomas backstage at the 2016 DC Jazz Festival
Talib Kweli, Ravi Coltrane, Bilal and Kamasi Washington (from left) hang at the 2016 DC Jazz Festival
E.J. Strickland performs at the 2016 DC Jazz Festival
Bilal guests with the Revive Big Band at the 2016 DC Jazz Festival

In May of 2015, Los Angeles saxophonist Kamasi Washington released his triple-disc debut album, The Epic-and promptly became a phenomenon, critically adored and featured in newspapers, magazines and on Charlie Rose. It’s the most meteoric rise of any jazz musician in recent memory, perhaps in a generation. To wit: Thirteen months later and against all odds, still-newcomer Washington finds himself closing the 2016 DC Jazz Festival.

In fairness, his performance on June 19 (the last of the festival’s 10 days) had a hell of a lead-in. Washington headlined a seven-hour marathon of music that was part of the festival’s “DC Jazz Fest at the Yards” segment. Held for its fourth year at Yards Park, a picturesque (and futuristic) outdoor space near the Washington Nationals’ baseball park, the lineup also included trumpeter Igmar Thomas and the Revive Big Band; drummer E.J. Strickland’s electric group, Transient Beings; and D.C. alto saxophonist Fred Foss, paying tribute to his mentor Jackie McLean.

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