The 34th Clifford Brown Jazz Festival will return to its pre-pandemic roots when it returns with a wealth of rich musical talent to Rodney Square next month.
The lineup, announced Thursday afternoon, includes notable performances from Grammy-nominated singer Eric Benet, Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum, and jazz legend Dianne Reeves.
Concerts on the Festival’s main stage in Rodney Square will take place from Wednesday August 4 through Sunday August 8 with performances starting at 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, at noon on Saturday and at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
The first event is the largest free jazz festival on the east coast.
On Wednesday, the program features a flagship performance by Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum. Thursday, Eric Benet will headline. The famous singer is also known to be the former husband of Hollywood Walk of Fame actress Halle Berry.
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The headliner Friday is jazz legend Dianne Reeves with John Beasley, Romero Lubambo, Reuben Rogers and Terreon Gully. Saturday highlights include Wilmington singer Nadjah Nicole and sizzling Kenny Barron Trio.
On Sunday, famous Wilmington dancer Raphael Xavier will show some moves.
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The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival is a tribute to Wilmington’s own Clifford Brown and is held in the city’s main public square, which is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation to make it more attractive and comfortable for residents and visitors.
The 65th anniversary of the death of the late great trumpeter was June 26.
Last month, the African-American Historical Society of Delaware, in conjunction with East Side Pride-We Matter, celebrated Brown’s life with a memorial concert in Kirkwood Park. It included local musicians such as Tony “Big Cat” Smith, who will perform at the jazz festival next month.
Even though the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival was just around the corner, it was important for the organizers of the memorial concert that they pay tribute to Brownie on the anniversary of his death.
“Clifford was just too big a trumpeter and performer to get on his side like that. I just felt as a community that we owe his legacy to remember him, ”said Harmon Carey, CEO of the Afro-American Historical Society of Delaware.
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Tina Betz, Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Wilmington, looks forward to a return to normal with the 34th annual festival.
“While we were very sorry we had to cancel the Rodney Square event last summer, our virtual event still showcased the incredible talents of our own local musicians, making it even more of an event. special, ”Betz said.
“Still, there’s nothing quite like coming together to experience jazz live in person, and we’re set to do it again this year.”
For more information on the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, visit cliffordbrownjazzfest.org.
Clifford Brown Jazz Festival Schedule
Wednesday August 4
Thursday August 5
Friday August 6
Grover Washington, Jr. Tribute Legacy Band
Dianne Reeves with John Beasley, Romero Lubambo, Reuben Rogers and Terreon Gully
Saturday August 7
Jennifer Hartswick and Nick Cassarino Duo
Dog Lu Dog
Clifford Brown Festival Orchestra with Maya Belardo, Nadjah Nicole, Darnell Miller, Jackie Browne, Tony “Big Cat” Smith, Skip Bordley and Stacy Harcum as well as the members of the orchestra.
Jane Bunnett and Maqueque
Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Sciences with special guest Lisa Fischer
Kenny Barron Trio
Sunday August 8
Boysie Lowery Living Jazz Residence Graduating Concert
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Andre Lamar is the reporting / lifestyle reporter. If you have an interesting story idea, email Andre Lamar at [email protected]