"The genre has been able to stand the test of time and is just as fresh, just as vibrant today as it was 40, 50 years ago," said Bill Hasson, coordinator of the First Annual Art Deco Jazz Festival & Tour, which is taking place today from 2 to 5 p.m. at Fort Stevens Park. Cosponsored by the Mayor's Committee to Promote Washington and the Art Deco Society of Washington in cooperation with the Fort Stevens Citizens' Coalition, the event will combine big band sounds, combo jazz and walking tours of the Fort Stevens area led by Art Deco Society president Richard Striner. The Lawrence Wheatley band, Carl Grubbs and the D.C. Jazz Workshop Orchestra, and the Shirley Horn Trio will perform. The event is free and open to the public.
"Here is an architecture that has also been able to withstand the test of time through various evolutions and transitions," Hasson said. "And you have to say something for the craftsmen, how they crafted the ideas of the architects, as well as the craftsmanship of the music of the '20s and '30s." The two big bands on the bill today will be "playing new ideas, but couched in the genre of the period," said Hasson. The presence on the program of pianist Horn, he pointed out, recalls the piano bar, an early fixture in the hotels of the Art Deco period.