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DCJF Newsletter - Winter 2022

Annual DC JazzFest Moves Permanently to Labor Day Weekend

Sunny Sumter, President and CEO

It’s official; the DC JazzFest is moving from its annual time slot in June to September! This marks a permanent shift of the DC JazzFest to the end of summer over Labor Day weekend, August 31-September 4, 2022. DC will celebrate all things jazz in more than a dozen neighborhoods. The marquee weekend will take place at District Wharf, a lively waterfront destination with an inviting array of restaurants, shops, parks, piers, and spectacular views of the Potomac River and DC’s monuments.

“I’ve always loved the cultural diversity represented through DC JazzFest and the way music helps connect us,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, President and CEO of Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization of Washington, DC. “The festival is a staple of the city that visitors and locals will look forward to as we celebrate a fun and vibrant Labor Day weekend in DC.”

A cultural staple and artistic jewel of the nation’s capital, the 18th annual DC JazzFest will feature a robust lineup of incredible artists – from homegrown talent to international superstars and emerging artists to NEA Jazz Masters. The 2022 DC JazzFest, with concerts in neighborhoods across the city, will include more than 50 performances as well as up close and in-person “Meet the Artist” conversations and panel discussions.

DC JazzFest at The Wharf will take place September 3-4 on multiple waterfront stages, and our DCJazzPrix international emerging band competition will be presented at Union Stage at The Wharf. An Education Village will feature artist interviews with festival headliners and kid-friendly activities, including an instrument petting zoo. A marketplace showcasing DC vendors will complete the festival experience. Located in Southwest Washington, The Wharf is accessible on foot, by car and bicycle, via water taxi, and by public transit including two nearby metro stations.

DC JazzFest at The Wharf will be the capstone to a summer of The Wharf’s outdoor programming. “The Wharf is proud to be a part of DC JazzFest and we look forward to hosting the beloved festival over Labor Day weekend,” said Bob Rubenkonig, Executive Director of the Wharf Community Association. “The festival’s mission to unify diverse communities and enable connections between artists and audiences will make the holiday weekend one to remember at The Wharf.”

Our plan is to continue the 2022 DC JazzFest as a 5-day offering with the majority of events outdoors with the well-being of our patrons, artists and festival production team as our top priority. The DC Jazz Festival will work closely with its partners to deliver a safe, world-class festival experience featuring great music for jazz enthusiasts and casual fans alike. We look forward to collaborating with DC venues and community organizations to connect District residents of all ages and backgrounds, and visitors alike, with dynamic jazz experiences in restaurants, clubs, galleries and parks. We are excited about reshaping DC’s cultural destination with citywide community engagement, artist-led experiences, and diverse connections between jazz artists and audiences at its core.

The DC Jazz Festival will announce the artist lineup and more details on this citywide celebration in the spring. Mark your calendars now as the 2022 DC JazzFest will shine as DC’s summer finale over Labor Day weekend!

DC Jazz Festival Education Jams Out In The New Year

Heidi Martin, Education and Outreach Coordinator

Spring is around the corner, and DC Jazz Festival Education is seeing new growth!

DC Jazz Festival is excited to introduce our newest teaching artist Corcoran Holt, accomplished musician, teacher, and native Washingtonian. Holt will teach DC Jazz Festival Education Jazzin’ AfterSchool - Beginning Guitar course at Bishop Walker School for Boys, one of our partnering institutions located in Ward 8. Beginning Guitar is a two-year program guiding 3-4 graders on guitar basics using jazz.

Holt began playing djembe and other West African percussion instruments at the age of 4, as a member of Wose Dance Company under the tutelage of Baba Aidoo Holmes & Mahiri Edwards. He began his study of the upright bass at age 10 with the DC Youth Orchestra (DCYOP) before attending the prestigious Duke Ellington School of the Arts, where he studied classical bass with Carolyn Kellock and jazz music with educators Davey Yarborough, Steve Novosel, and the late great Keter Betts. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from the Shenandoah Conservatory, he moved to New York City to continue his studies and embarked on his career as a musician and educator. Holt currently performs with jazz saxophonist Kenny Garrett.

“Being a product of Washington, DC, I have always loved the city and thankful for how I came up as a young musician in Washington, DC,” says Holt. “Once I moved to New York, I decided that I wanted to pass the blessings received and lessons learned on to the next generation. Witnessing the younger generation having similar opportunities, I want them to know they too can be professional musicians and can do anything they set their minds to. I’ve always wanted to be a part of that.”

DC Jazz Festival Education received a donation of 10 acoustic and electric guitars from Guitar Center Foundation Strings of Hope in 2021. After a successful pilot summer program at Bishop Walker School for Boys, we couldn’t be more excited to teach the Beginning Guitar during the regular in-person instruction during the school year.

Holt will also lead a master class on jazz for middle and high school students at Sitar Arts Center in the spring. Learn more about our other education programs by visiting

DCJazzPrix: More Than A Win

Mikki Carlton, DC JazzPrix Producer

The DCJazzPrix international jazz band competition has proved to be a vital step on the way to the top of the jazz scene, with the competition’s list of past finalists being made up of a who’s who of fast-rising talent in the jazz world. Previous finalists have included 2021 Grammy Nominee and current DCJF Artist-In-Residence Orrin Evans (New Century Jazz Quintet), 2020 South Arts Fellowship Winner Amy K. Bormet (AmyAna), winner of the 2019 American Pianist Award Emmet Cohen (Emmet Cohen Trio), Emmy Award-winner Braxton Cook (New Century Jazz Quintet) and most recently, 2021 co-champions Dayramir Gonzalez and Giveton Gelin.

In addition to the $15,000 grand prize, the winning bands receive a yearlong association with the DC Jazz Festival and its respective partners. This year is no different, as the Festival continues the tradition through a partnership with the Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival (MAJF), a three-day a straight-ahead jazz fest in Rockville, MD. 2021 winners Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé and Giveton Gelin Gelin Quintet will perform on the Ronnie Wells Main Stage on Friday, February 18th.

“The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival is excited to partner with The DC Jazz Festival to bring International talent to the DMV. The dynamic 21’ DCJazzPrix winners will headline at MAJF 22’ and we look forward to more collaborations with the historic DC Jazz Festival.”- Paul Carr Executive and Artistic Director, Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival.

In addition to MAJF, DC Jazz Festival has tapped its partnership with Levine Music, DC’s preeminent center for all-ages music education, to present the Giveton Gelin Quintet for a masterclass and performance during the Levine Jazz Fest in April. In addition to business development, career impact services and publicity opportunities, the DCJazzPrix prize annually serves as a tool to create opportunities for young artists to expand their audiences, and ultimately, to elevate their careers.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2022 competition, which will take place during the 18th Annual DC JazzFest occurring August 31-September 4. Learn more about the entry requirements and apply before March 31st, enter your band today:


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