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Meet our Headliners

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Samara Joy

FRIDAY, AUGUST 30 | THE ANTHEM

A 3-time Grammy Award winner while still in her mid-20s, Samara Joy has been one of those rare artists whose trajectory is truly comet-like.  Blessed with an opportunity to record her sophomore album for the Verve label, recorded home to such jazz vocal immortals as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan, Samara Joy seized on the opportunity and delivered Linger Awhile. Raised in the church and doubtless influenced by gospel singing grandparents and a father who toured with gospel master Andrae Crouch, jazz has been part of her passion since singing in the jazz band at Fordham High School in Bronx, NY.  While there she copped a Best Vocalist Award at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s annual Essentially Ellington competition.  From there she enrolled in the jazz studies program at SUNY Purchase.  Another of her jazz education mentors was the late pianist Barry Harris.  When she won the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Competition in 2019 she served further notice.  Her second recording, Linger Awhile, boasts not only her uncommon maturity and gifts in service to classic jazz songs – she put her improvisational art on full display, not only with her reading of Jon Hendricks’ vocalese lyrics to Thelonious Monk’s classic “Round Midnight,” but also with her easeful, old-soul twist on more vocalese as she sang lyrics based on bop legend Fats Navarro’s 1947 recording.

Check out Samara performing “Can’t Get Out Of This Mood”

SAMARA JOY
JACOB COLLIER
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Jacob Collier

FRIDAY, AUGUST 30 | THE ANTHEM

Bursting onto the global music scene propelled by the viral success of his multi-frame, multi-instrumental YouTube covers, Collier captured the attention of Quincy Jones, who became his mentor. With Jones's guidance, Collier released his debut album, "In My Room," in 2016. This groundbreaking album, entirely recorded, produced, and performed by Collier himself, showcased his extraordinary musical talent, spanning from inventive renditions of the Flintstones theme in microtonal to soulful folk-influenced ballads. Embarking on a solo international tour, Collier revolutionized live performances by ingeniously incorporating 12 instruments, creating a captivating onstage recreation of the rich tapestry of "In My Room." 

Stanley Clarke
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STANLEY CLARKE N 4EVER

SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 | DISTRICT WHARF

When the Philadelphia-born bassist broke out on the jazz scene he was immediately lauded for his unusual facility and prowess on the acoustic bass. Clarke first studied double bass at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia. In his teens he picked up bass guitar so he could perform in rock bands at parties. After moving to NYC he found work with such great masters as Curtis Fuller, Joe Henderson, Pharoah Sanders, Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, Art Blakey, Gil Evans, Mel Lewis, and Horace Silver. And then he met Chick Corea, eventually joining the pianist-keyboardist in forming the pioneering jazz fusion outfit Return to Forever. Eventually the band morphed from its original Brazilian flavor to the power quartet that achieved global fame. From there Clarke evolved his solo career, making albums and touring at the helm of several incarnations of the Stanley Clarke Band, scoring films and collaborating with artists across musical genres. In 2021 he was named an NEA Jazz Master.

Check out the Stanley Clarke N'4Ever performing live at Spring Jazz Days Bratislava 2023

KENNY BARRON VOYAGE TRIO

SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 | DISTRICT WHARF

Kenny Barron is one of the most multi-faceted, complimentary pianists in modern music. He is at home whether accompanying jazz greats, leading his own bands, or performing solo. His contributions are always distinctively rewarding. Born and raised in the jazz crucible of Philadelphia, Kenny was playing with the likes of NEA Jazz Master saxophonists Jimmy Heath and Yusef Lateef while still a high schooler. Thereafter he matriculated through the bands of NEA Jazz Masters James Moody, Lou Donaldson, Roy Haynes, and later spent five productive years on the road with Dizzy Gillespie. Among Kenny’s career highlights are also tours and recordings – whether in quartet or duo settings – with saxophonist Stan Getz. For over 25 years Kenny taught at Rutgers University, and he currently teaches at the Juilliard School of Music. Barron’s current record is the solo essay The Source, which launched the Artwork label.

Check out the Kenny Barron Trio performing on his 80th birthday tour

KENNY BARRON

Dianne Reeves

SUNDAY, SEPT 1 | DISTRICT WHARF

Dianne Reeves was raised in Denver and achieved some early artistic serendipity when while performing with her high school jazz band at a convention in Chicago she impressed trumpet master and mentor to many, Clark Terry. He invited her to sing with some of his all-star bands where she listened intently to the close interactions of the musicians. After studying at the University of Colorado she moved to Los Angeles, recording with Stanley Turrentine, Lenny White, Billy Childs and the Latin Jazz fusion outfit Caldera. From her 1987 Blue Note Records debut, she has gone on to cop five Grammy Awards and an NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship in 2018.

Check out Dianne Reeves, John Beasley, Ben Williams performing "Peace" at  International Jazz Day 2023

DIANE REEVES
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Galactic

SUNDAY, SEPT 1 | DISTRICT WHARF

Galactic is an American funk band flavored by its city of origin – New Orleans.  Its founding members, guitarist Jeff Raines and bassist Robert Mercurio, are childhood chums from Chevy Chase, MD who moved to the Crescent City to attend Tulane and Loyola Universities, where they became immersed in the funk scene exemplified by The Meters, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and inspired by legendary piano polymath Professor Longhair.  Galactic draws its influence from a broad cross-section of styles, including rock, funk, brass bands, blues, jazz hip-hop, and electronica.  Deep in the jam band sound, Galactic has released over a dozen albums.

Check out Galactic performing "Heart Of Steel" feat. Cyril Neville

GALACTIC
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D-Nice

FRIDAY, AUGUST 30 | THE ANTHEM

Derrick "D-Nice" Jones, a Bronx native, embarked on a multi-decade music career that has taken him from his roots in Boogie Down Productions to international acclaim. Rising from the iconic 80s rap group, D-Nice achieved a Billboard number one single with his debut album "Call Me D-Nice." Evolving alongside the hip-hop landscape, he honed his craft as a DJ in downtown clubs, blending old-school tracks with contemporary sounds. Now a fixture at global events, from Oscar® night galas to private parties hosted by Diddy, D-Nice's dynamic performances have resonated worldwide, earning him residencies and accolades. Beyond music, he has developed a passion for photography, documenting his life and travels. Whether spinning for luminaries like Stevie Wonder or capturing candid moments with his camera, D-Nice continues to expand his creative endeavors through BrandNice agency, embodying positivity and innovation in his artistry.

D-NICE
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BOBBY SANABRIA MULTIVERSE BIG BAND

SUNDAY, SEPT 1 | DISTRICT WHARF

Bobby Sanabria (Multiverse Big Band) is a drummer and fluent multiple percussion from Bronx, NY, a composer-arranger and leader of several ensembles. His current vehicle is the Multiverse Big Band, a large ensemble with prominent vocal elements. He is a published music journalist and the weekly radio show host on Latin music at WBGO, the New York metro area’s jazz station. Vox Humana, the most recent release of the Multiverse Big Band, was nominated for a 2024 Grammy Award.

Check out the Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band performing Vox Humana

BOBBY MULTIVERSE
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Cimafunk

SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 | DISTRICT WHARF

Cimafunk is Afro-Cuban vocalist-bandleader Erik Alejandro Iglesias Rodriguez. The Cuban musician is known for mixing funk and hip hop with Caribbean and Afro-Caribbean music in an explosive mix that threatens to blow the roof off whatever venue Cimafunk inhabits. While pursuing medical school in his hometown of Pinar del Rio, the siren call of music became too strong to resist and Cimafunk was born. The New Yorker magazine has since likened him to an Afro-Cuban descendant of the James Brown tradition. In Fall 2021 Cimafunk released the album El Alimento, subsequently nominated as Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album at the 65th annual Grammy Awards. The recording featured guest appearances by among others, space-funk legend George Clinton, as well as Lupe Fiasco, and CeeLo Green.

Check out Cimafunk performing "Paciente" Live at La Tropical

CIMAFUNK

CARMEN LUNDY

SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 | DISTRICT WHARF

Carmen Lundy as singer-songwriter, pianist & guitarist, and record label producer epitomizes the self-starting artist. The 2-time Grammy nominee has also had her original compositions performed and recorded by such jazz masters as pianist Kenny Barron and saxophonist Ernie Watts. The Kennedy Center has hailed her as “a woman of many faces: composer, arranger, producer, actress, painter and sophisticated vocalist well-known for her progressive bop and post-bop stylings – an uncompromising jazz singer whose every note is bulls-eye accurate.”

Watch Carmen performing "So Amazing" Live At The Hollywood Bowl

CARMEN LUNDY
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BILL FRISELL FOUR

SUNDAY, SEPT 1 | DISTRICT WHARF

Bill Frisell is a guitar master born in Baltimore and raised in Denver, who has evolved a truly singular technique and sound on his instrument. He originally studied at the University of Northern Colorado, eventually matriculating his music studies at Berklee College of Music. He impressed Pat Metheny, who unable to make a recording session, recommended Frisell to drummer-bandleader Paul Motian for his ECM session. Eventually Frisell became ECM’s in-house guitarist throughout the 1980s. His first release was 1983’s In Line. From there Frisell has become a prolific recording and touring artist, along the way collaborating with myriad artists across musical genres – including with the great bass master Ron Carter and leading bands of multiple flavors. He won a 2005 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album for Unspeakable. Currently he records for the Blue Note label, his latest album titled Four, introduces the quartet he’ll lead at DCJF.

Check out Bill Frisell performing "FOUR" live at 58 JAZZALDIA

BILL FRISELL
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DAVID MURRAY QUARTET

SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 | DISTRICT WHARF

David Murray has for decades been one of the more prolific recording artists in jazz, practically from the moment of his 1975 NYC arrival from his native Oakland, CA. He’s someone who is always looking to push the figurative envelope that is the jazz tradition. Murray’s inside/outside perspective has found a creative home in settings ranging from solo saxophone essays to duets with the likes of NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston and flutist James Newton, to trios, to his founding membership in the World Saxophone Quartet, and his own Octets and Big Bands. Murray was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1989.

Check out the David Murray Quartet performing at DC's Blues Alley

DAVID MURRAY
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Emmet Cohen Trio
Feat. Houston Person

SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 | DISTRICT WHARF

Emmet Cohen Trio featuring Houston Person: Born in 1990, pianist Emmet Cohen has come to exemplify the younger jazz artist with an old soul. That spirit shows up not only in his soulfully swinging pianistics, but also in his open embrace of collaborations across jazz perspectives, but most notably at the senior level of jazz mastery. His ongoing Master Legacy Series has found Emmet partnering with senior masters, the latest of whom is the poetic and rich tenor saxophone tone of 89-year old Houston Person, his collaborator on Volume 5 of Cohen’s rich Master Legacy Series, who will join the pianist’s trio on the DC JazzFest stage.

Check out the Emmet Cohen Trio performing Live at Keystone Korner

EMMET COHEN
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CORCORAN HOLT QUINTET

SUNDAY, SEPT 1 | UNION STAGE

Corcoran Holt is a 2024 DC JazzFest artist-in-residence; a son of DC and a proud graduate of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, where he is part of a distinctive jazz bass legacy. His bass study began with the renowned DC Youth Orchestra. From there he matriculated at Shenandoah Conservatory. As a professional he has graced a number of auspicious bandstands, including the bands of NEA Jazz Masters Curtis Fuller, Jimmy Cobb, Slide Hampton, Delfeayo Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, Donald Harrison, and more recently he has been a longstanding member of Kenny Garrett’s bands.

Check out Corcoran Holt performing "Raven's Wing"

CORCOREAN HOLT

BRANDEE YOUNGER TRIO

SUNDAY, SEPT 1 | UNION STAGE

Brandee Younger is the contemporary keeper of the flame for an instrument very rare in jazz and the annals of improvised music, the harp.  As such she is the current most prominent descendant of Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane, the two most prominent harpists in jazz history.  Brandee’s experience on bandstands and in recording studios has ranged from NEA Jazz Masters Pharoah Sanders, Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, and Reggie Workman, to pop and hip hop artists Lauryn Hill, John Legend, Drake, Maxwell, and The Roots.  A native of Long Island, NY she earned undergrad degrees at The Hartt School of the University of Hartford.  Her current album is the much-acclaimed Brand New Life, her second for the Impulse! Label.

Check out Brandee Younger performing on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert

BRANDEE YONGER
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KRIS DAVIS'
DIATOM RIBBONS

SUNDAY, SEPT 1 | DISTRICT WHARF

Kris Davis’ Diatom Ribbons: She is a pianist and composer who is part of the growing cadre of highly productive women jazz artists from Canada. Davis discovered jazz in high school and “By the 8th grade I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician.” In 2019 Kris began working as instructor and assistant director at Berklee College of Music’s Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, where she has collaborated musically and educationally with Terri Lyne Carrington. Davis’ 2019 record Diatom Ribbons was cited by both the New York Times and the NPR Music Jazz Critic’s Poll as album of the year. Her co-led album with Carrington, New Standards Vol. 1 won a Grammy Award.

Check out the Kris Davis Diatom Ribbons performing an original composition at WBGH Public Radio Boston

KRIS DAVIS
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Chuck Brown Band

SUNDAY, SEPT 1 | DISTRICT WHARF

Guitarist, bandleader and singer Chuck Brown was a certified Washington, DC legend. Fluent in funk, swing, jazz, blues and blessed with a vocal command that also sampled liberally from the Great American Songbook, Brown – who joined the ancestors in 2012 at 75 – was most noted as a pioneer of the distinctly DC rhythmic tradition known as Go-Go, a subgenre of funk music with an emphasis on specific rhythmic patterns and live audience call & response, delivered by his band The Soul Searchers. The Chuck Brown Band explosively carries on the Chuck Brown and The Soul Searchers go-go tradition across a similarly ambitious range of styles as exemplified by the Godfather of Go-Go.

Check out the Chuck Brown Band performing at Hamilton Live

CHUCK BROWN
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NEW JAZZ UNDERGROUND

SUNDAY, SEPT 1 | DISTRICT WHARF

New Jazz Underground won first prize in the 2023 DCJazzPrix emerging bands competition. Consisting of Abdias Armenteros on saxophones, Sebastian Rios on bass, and TJ Reddick on drums, the trio first met as students at the Juilliard School. They began playing in New York City parks during the pandemic, where they established a name and a sound through pop-up performances. Thereafter they began posting videos on their YouTube channel, where their subscriber base has grown to over 85K, creating a new standard for jazz presentation through their online videos.

Check out New Jazz Underground performing "22" live in NYC

NJU

NASAR ABADEY
AND SUPERNOVA

SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 | UNION STAGE

Nasar Abadey is a drummer-composer and bandleader who has long been an acknowledged leader and mentor in the DMV community of musicians. He is a teaching artist at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. Nasar is founder and driving force of Supernova, whose expressions encompass African rhythms, bebop, fusion, Afro-Cuban, and Afro-Brazilian rhythms. Nasar refers to his music as Multi-D – multi-dimensional, multi-directional.

Check out Nasar Abadey and SUPERNOVA performing "There Is No Greater Love"

NASAR ABADEY

AMY K BORMET TRIO

SUNDAY, SEPT 1 | DISTRICT WHARF

Amy K. Bormet is a pianist, vocalist and composer. A graduate of DC’s Duke Ellington School for the Arts, she earned a Jazz Studies Piano Performance degree from the University of Michigan. Inspired by her U of M professor and mentor Geri Allen, she later earned her MFA in Jazz Studies at Howard University. She is the founder of the annual Washington Women in Jazz Festival, which began in 2011.

Check out Amy K. Bormet performing at Millennium Stage

AMY K BORMET
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B.J. SIMMONS

SUNDAY, SEPT 1 | ARENA STAGE

B.J. Simmons has a broad musical pallet that has found his saxophone in-demand on hip hop, R&B, blues, gospel and African music settings. But jazz is his heartbeat expression as he strives create “…a new body of work” for those experiencing his art of the improvisors, where he has incorporated his diverse experiences, balanced with his instrumental prowess and his search for new audiences. His work also includes a distinctive grade school jazz education profile.

Check out BJ Simmons performing "Have You Met Ms. Jones"

BJ SIMMONS
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MICHAEL THOMAS QUINTET

SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 | DISTRICT WHARF

Michael Thomas Quintet, led by the trumpeter and tireless jazz proselytizer, has established a rich 25-year history performing for audiences across the DMV, from Westminster Church to clubs and restaurants. The band reflects a died-in-the-wool post-bop approach reflecting the influence of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers – and the trumpeters from that jazz institution who forever guide Michael’s work, most notably Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard - in Thomas’ ever-soulful approach. 

Check out the Michael Thomas Quintet performing Lee Morgan's "Search For The New Land Clip 2"

MICHAEL THOMAS
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REGINALD CYNTJE

SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 | ARENA STAGE

Reginald Cyntje is a 21st century jazz renaissance man, as equally dedicated to his ongoing trombone craft as he is to his work as director of jazz studies at DC’s famed Duke Ellington School of the Arts. As a potent trombone man he has often displayed island sensibilities in his music, reflecting his Virgin Islands upbringing, steeped in the VI music culture known as Quelbe. To date he has made seven albums as a leader, the latest being 2024’s Gentle Touch, which will doubtless guide his DCJF ’24 performance.

Check out Reginald performing “Magnetism” live at Divine Order Studios

REGINALD CYNTJE

STEPHEN ARNOLD
& SEA CHANGE

SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 | DISTRICT WHARF

Stephen Arnold is a bassist, composer, and arranger based in Washington, DC who studied bass with Herman Burney at the George Washington University. He has played around the DMV with such artists as clarinetist Todd Marcus, saxophonists Sarah Marie Hughes and Brian Settles, trumpeters Thad Wilson and Donvonte McCoy, and vocalist Sharon Clark among others. His debut album Sea Change was a finalist for jazz album of the year at the WAMMIE Awards.

Check out Stephen Arnold & Sea Change performing "Breast Milk Theory (early version)" at An Die Musik Live

STEPHEN ARNOLD

MUNEER NASSER

SUNDAY, SEPT 1 | UNION STAGE

Muneer Nasser is a trumpeter and bandleader who holds a business degree from Howard University. As a recording artist he has documented his work on A Soldier’s Story. He is also an author, whose book Upright Bass chronicles the life & legacy of his late father, bassist Jamil Nasser, who played with many of the greats.

Check out the Muneer Nasser Quintet performing live at Smalls Jazz Club

MUNEER NASSER
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SONNY STITT CENTENNIAL

SUNDAY, SEPT 1 | ARENA STAGE

A heartfelt tribute to the centennial legacy of saxophonist Sonny Stitt, celebrating his profound impact on jazz and personal influence as a loving father. Composed by Stitt himself and reflecting his sentimentality towards his hometown, the project underscores his enduring presence in the jazz community and the lasting impression he left on his daughter, who now carries on his musical legacy as a curator, producer, oral historian, and manager. His contributions to jazz and his cherished role as a father are honored and celebrated, ensuring that his remarkable spirit continues to inspire future generations of musicians and enthusiasts alike.

SONNY STITT
NICHOLAS PAYTON
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