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The DC Jazz Festival

About DCJF



The DC Jazz Festival® (DCJF™) organization provides enriching and entertaining jazz performances and programs that introduce students and adults from all walks of life to jazz, our nation’s singular original art form. DCJF presents a selection of the jazz genre’s most acclaimed artists as well as emerging artists, and provides enhanced exposure for the rich treasure trove of musicians from the Washington, DC area. 


Throughout the year, DCJF nourishes the community with music education programs that extend our reach into underserved communities and enhance the quality of life for DC public and charter school students. Our signature programs are the annual DC JazzFest, presented since 2005; the free-round, year-round, DCJF Education Program, which gets kids “jazzed” about learning; the Charles Fishman Embassy Series, which showcases emerging and established artists; and DCJazzPrix, our international jazz band competition. DCJazzFest has grown in size and stature each year. The virtual 2020 DC JazzFest attracted a record-breaking 200,000+ attendees of all ages, ethnicities and income levels. 



The mission of the DC Jazz Festival (DCJF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is to:

  • Present internationally world-renowned and emerging artists in celebration of jazz; 

  • Unify diverse communities and enable connections between artists and audience year-round;

  • Advance jazz and music education by providing exciting, adventurous and diverse musical experiences for audiences of all ages and backgrounds in the greater DC area as well as out-of-town visitors;

  • Provide performance opportunities for DC-based jazz musicians; and

  • Highlight DC as a major and vibrant center for jazz, and as a premier cultural destination

Our signature programs are the annual DCJazzFest™, presented annually since 2005; the year-round DCJF Education Program, established in 2008; the Charles Fishman Embassy Series, established in 2012; and DCJazzPrix™, established in 2015.

A copy of our 990 for the 2022 fiscal year can be found here.



The DC Jazz Festival can best be understood by the values that guide our day‐to‐day operations:

  • We are passionate supporters of jazz in all its incarnations and inspirations.

  • We are inclusive and respectful of traditions.

  • We embody a vibrant culture, celebrating the sounds and spirit that define the jazz cultural experience.

  • We advocate for the role of jazz in DC life and create shared experiences that honor our city’s rich jazz legacy.

  • We believe that through the DC Jazz Festival, arts and culture enthusiasts can make deeper connections; casual fans can experience and share new traditions; and our partners can reach new audiences.

  • We believe in the artists that make the music. 7. We are committed to excellence.



  • To present exciting, adventurous and diverse programming for all ages and backgrounds

  • To create exceptional festival experiences

  • To provide free, innovative music education programming for children and adults

  • To honor the District’s rich legacy of jazz

  • To develop year-round, multi-year dynamic partnerships

  • To highlight DC JazzFest as a premier destination for jazz

  • To ensure organizational sustainability alongside artistic excellence



The DC Jazz Honors Award

Each year, as part of its mission, the DC Jazz Festival honors jazz greats for their extra-ordinary contributions to jazz and humanity. The DC Jazz Honors Award is bestowed to an individual who serves as a jazz ambassador in service to good will and cultural diplomacy. Previous awardees include Quincy Jones, Ron Carter, Kenny Barron, Charles Fishman, Ellis Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, Roy Haynes, Chucho Valdes, Sadao Watanabe, Clark Terry, Dr. Billy Taylor, James Moody, Eddie Palmieri, George T. Wein, Buck Hill, Hank Jones, and more. The 2022 honorees will be announced soon.


DCJF Board of Directors



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