Jazz in The Parks
The region’s most acclaimed jazz musicians are returning to the ever-popular Jazz in The Parks on the Great Lawn this summer – this year, with a fourth, additional concert due to popular demand. Bring your neighbors and friends for the city’s favorite laid-back summer evenings – listed by Washingtonian magazine as one of the area’s top five outdoor spots to listen to live music just last year! Bring your own picnic, blanket and refreshments, and enjoy popular local food vendors and giveaways.
The events start at 5 pm with a children’s performer (get ready to dance!), followed at 6 pm by the headliners listed below.
- Saturday, June 10, 5-8 pm: Presenting Corcoran Holt with Farafina Kan Percussion Ensemble | RSVP here.
- Saturday, July 8: Presenting Ben Williams| RSVP here.
- Saturday, August 12, 5-8 pm: Presenting Amy K. Bormet’s Washington Women in Jazz with children’s opening performer Baba Ras D. | RSVP here
- Saturday, September 9, 5-8 pm: Presenting Rochelle Rice with children’s opening performance by Heidi Martin | RSVP here
More About the Artists:
Farafina Kan Percussion Ensemble
Farafina Kan is a professional West African percussion orchestra dedicated to maintaining the history and integrity of traditional African music. Under the tutelage of international performing arts legends, Farafina Kan seeks to sustain the work initiated by these legends through professionalism, artistry, continual learning, and proactive intergenerational transmission of African culture through music and movement. Farafina Kan is a family comprised of young African-American artists reared in many of the dance companies who established the foundation for African dance in the U.S., including Memory of African Culture, Sankofa Dance Theatre.
Corcoran Holt, a son of Washington, D.C., began playing upright bass at age 10 with the DC Youth Orchestra. Soon he learned that his great-grandfather, with whom he shares a birthday, was a bass player who grew up in High Point, NC and lived next door to a very young John Coltrane. Legend has it that he gave Trane music lessons. Corcoran feels called to the bass and his work is about honoring the ancestors. He went on to attend the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and furthered his study with a Masters Degree in Jazz Studies at Queens College in New York City. Corcoran has performed with dozens of jazz legends throughout his career and after an 18-year stint in New York has settled back in Washington, D.C.
When it comes to Black music, Washington, D.C. produces its share of game-changers. That long list includes Duke Ellington, Chuck Brown, Marvin Gaye, Shirley Horn, Roberta Flack, Bad Brains, Meshell Ndegeocello, Wale, and Oddisee. You can add Ben Williams to that venerated roster. Ben Williams is a graduate of Shepherd Park Elementary School and Grammy award-winning bassist, composer, singer, bandleader, and producer. For more than a decade, Williams has steadily become one of the most acclaimed and versatile bassists in modern jazz. In 2009, he won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. He has performed/recorded with such giants as Pat Metheny, George Benson, Stefon Harris, David Sanborn, Lauryn Hill, Wynton Marsalis, Robert Glasper, Maxwell, and Nicholas Payton. In 2013 and 2015, Williams received the DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll Rising Star Award for Bass. Williams became a “Rising Star” when he won the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition Award that landed him his first record-deal with Concord Records. Thereafter, he recorded and released State of Art in 2011 with his band Sound Effect. The album received an impressive 4.5-star review in DownBeat Magazine and reached #1 on the charts of iTunes and the National BillBoard. He was named the 2011 iTunes Breakthrough Artist of the Year in the category of jazz. In 2013 he won a grammy as part of Pat Metheny’s band for the album Unity Band. Ben’s most recent release is I Am A Man.
Amy K. Bormet:
Amy K. Bormet is a pianist, vocalist, and composer known for her fearless free-wheeling style and dedication to creating new music. To collaborate with and celebrate women musicians, she started the annual Washington Women in Jazz Festival in 2011, directing, financing, and performing in an annual festival and women-focused events throughout the year in the DC area. Her incredible band features women players on the scene!
Walking the fine line between jazz, folk, and soul, Rochelle Rice, lives in between the cracks of hard-and-fast genre rules. As a singer steeped in the music of Lizz Wright and Joni Mitchell, Rice's sound leans heavily on solid lyrics, jazz-influenced harmony, and soaring vocals. Her debut EP, Wonder, released in 2016, (featuring the likes of Brent Birckhead and Mark G. Meadows) established her as a singer's singer with beautiful original songs, a sizzling quartet, and lush strings. When she is not performing with the legendary Sweet Honey In The Rock and other bands, she is an arts and music educator in Washington, D.C.
Location: The Great Lawn is located at the center of the campus. Enter from 16th Street NW, or enter from Georgia Avenue at Butternut Street NW, and follow Main Drive around to the grassy area. Map 1010 Butternut Street NW for an address.
How to Get There: Parking is limited on campus, so walking, scooting, biking, buses, and trains are recommended. The Parks at Walter Reed is a 12-minute walk from the Takoma Metrorail Station on the Red Line, and more than a dozen bus lines run up 16th Street NW and Georgia Avenue NW. Bike parking is available on campus. Some parking is available in on-street spots; please follow the signage.
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