Wow! The 2010 Dupont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival in Wilmington, Delaware promises to be the best ever. It doesn’t matter whether you like cool jazz, big band, abstract improvisation, Afro-Cuban rythms, blues, or hard-driving jazz that borders on rock. This year’s Festival has something for everyone, and a whole lot more for jazz lovers like me!
For starters no matter what kind of music you think you like, you’re going to love John Pizzarelli – a fantastic guitarists with a happy vocal style that appeals to even the most conservative of audiences. Son of famed jazz guitarist, “Bucky” Pizzarelli, John is at home with any song he sings. So do yourself a favor and don’t miss John Pizzarelli when he helps kick off the Festival on Tuesday evening, June 15 at 8:00 pm in Rodney Square (preceded by Champion Fulton at 6:30 pm). As a side bar, if you like John Pizzarelli, you will love the unique vocal stylings of his wife, Jessica Molaskey. She has only four CDs out as far as I know, but they are really tasty!
Chic Corea is nothing short of a legend in the jazz world. And only a legend could bring together such top-notch performers as Kenny Garrett on alto sax, Christian McBride on bass and the seemingly immortal Roy Haynes on drums. Corea is known worldwide for his percussive keyboard sound and free-form improvisation. Between them, these four world-class musicians have performed with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Thelonious Monk, George Shearing, Eric Dolphy, Stan Gets, Elvin Jones, John Coltrane, Gary Burton, Wayne Shorter, Art Pepper, Dizzy Gillespie, Pat Metheny and hundreds more great jazz innovators.
The kaleidoscopic Afro-Caribbean, Cuban and Latin rhythms that Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band bring to the stage is nothing short of mesmerizing. The group shifts in and out of intricate rythms with such ease and sophistication that it reminds me of tall grass undulating in the wind. But this band really swings. Every time I hear them, I learn something new about the rapturous affect rhythm can have on the human mind – not to mention the heart!.
Like all so-called “big bands” the USAF Satellite Jazz Ensemble pays homage to the giants of the Swing Era – Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, and Glenn Miller. But they bring so much energy and a fresh interpretation of the style that traditional jazz “standards” really feel contemporary. In addition, the 12-piece ensemble features repertoire taken from such important jazz masters as Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis, and Herbie Hancock, as well as vocal gems from the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and the late, great Lena Horne.
I can’t say enough great things about the lineup the City of Wilmington is bringing to the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival this year – Esperanza Spalding, Omar Sosa, Pyeng Threadgill and many more great ensembles. As usual, the main stage will be in Rodney Square, where performances will be held at 6:30 and 8:00 pm every evening from Tuesday, June 15 through Saturday June 19. There will also be free lunchtime concerts from 12:00 to 1:30 pm, Monday through Friday, June 14-18, at H.B. du Pont Park at 10th and West Streets.
The Festival will close with Jazz Vespers at 4:00 pm at the Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew/Matthew located at 719 Shipley Street on Sunday afternoon, June 20. All performances are FREE and open to the public. For a complete schedule of artists and events check out the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival website.
You’ll definitely get your groove back at the Dupont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival in downtown Wilmington. So make your hotel reservations today!
TravelTip: Several area hotels are offering special packages for out-of-town visitors duing the Festival – Sheraton Suites Wilmington, Inn at Wilmington, Courtyard by Marriott Wilmington Brandywine, and Embassy Suites Newark, the Christiana Hilton, and the Hotel Dupont which is right across the street from Rodney Square.