The second Capital City Jazz Festival will take place June 5 through 8, with a provocative and stimulating program that builds on 1985's maiden effort.
Last year's festival at the Washington Convention Center lost $8,000, but its organizers still considered it a success. "We think it did smashingly," says W.A. Brower of Capital City Jazz Festivals Inc., the nonprofit educational group that produced the event. "From an artistic standpoint it was exciting and we had a really good turnout for the concerts, as well as a mix of people -- white, black, old, young, a cross section of the Washington metro community."
After a day-long Thursday program at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts that will include workshops, demonstrations, films and youth concerts, capped by a benefit concert featuring McCoy Tyner and local favorite Shirley Horn, the festival will move for the next three days to the Convention Center.
The emphasis in the Friday concert will be on the Latin influence; it features Tito Puente and his Latin Ensemble and Cuban Pacquito D'Rivera's sextet. In addition, innovative composer George Russell (and his Living Time Orchestra, featuring saxophonist Sonny Fortune and Washington trumpet virtuoso Wallace Roney) will make his Washington debut, presenting his double-Grammy nominated suite, "The African Game."
The Saturday matinee concert will focus on a new generation of jazz players: guitarist Kevin Eubanks' quartet, pianist Jerri Allen's octet and a combo featuring Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison and Mulgrew Miller. That night's concert will present some major figures from the swing and bebop movements, including vocalist Betty Carter (working with strings); vibist Milt Jackson and his quartet, with special guest Little Jimmy Scott; Frank Wess; and local sax legend Buck Hill.
The windup concert on Sunday afternoon will celebrate the music and rhythms of South Africa with pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand), trumpeter Hugh Masekela and the group Ekaya.
Unlike the Washington Kool Jazz Festival, held in 1983 and 1984 at the Kennedy Center under the sponsorship of the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Co., the Capital City Jazz Festival has no sponsors or underwriters, though it has the support of radio station WPFW-FM. The station, which was a catalyst behind the initial festival and picked up much of the loss, is the sole producer of this year's event.