The 29th annual Dupont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival is currently happening through June 24, 2017, in Wilmington’s Rodney Square. Performances start at 6 p.m. on weekdays and at noon on Saturday. The festival will also feature the return of the Silver Trumpet Block Party on Friday evening (June 23), which will begin at the end of the Rodney Square stage performances. The post-festival party will take place in the 800 block of Market Street.
The festival is an annual tribute to the late jazz trumpeter and Wilmingtonian Clifford Brown. Born in 1930 on the Eastside, ‘Brownie’ died in 1956 at the age of 25 in a car accident, leaving behind only a few years’ worth of recordings that were hugely influential on later jazz trumpet players such as Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan, Booker Little, Arturo Sandoval and Freddie Hubbard. Brown wrote two compositions, “Joy Spring” and “Daahoud,” which have become jazz standards.
The complete festival schedule of performances is listed below and at www.cliffordbrownjazzfest.com.
High and Mighty Brass Band: There’s a reason that musical trailblazers from Galactic to DJ Logic have chosen to collaborate with High and Mighty Brass Band. Dr. John, Rebirth Brass Band and Trombone Shorty have chosen them to share the stage. Co-mingling band members from New Orleans, New York City and a host of other cities across the globe, this dynamic crew has the unique ability to combine classic New Orleans funk and R&B with more modern Afro-Beat and Hip Hop influences.
Frederic Yonnet: Yonnet is regarded as one of the most talented and innovative harmonica players on the international music scene today. While Yonnet enjoys the excitement of performing with some of the world’s greatest musicians, he knows that it’s the technical mastery of his instrument—along with innovative collaborations and solo projects—that will earn him recognition as one of the greatest harmonica players in the world.
Wilmington Youth Jazz Band: The Wilmington Youth Jazz Band is a dynamic jazz music education program which is open to young musicians aged 10 and up in Delaware and thesurrounding regions. Founded in 2004 by renowned saxophonist Fostina Dixon-Kilgoe, the WYJB has performed at various venues such as: The Kennedy Center, the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival and the Grand Opera House.
Sumi Toonoka: Tonooka has been called a “fierce and fascinating composer and pianist” by Jazz Times and “provocative and compelling” by the New York Times and “continually inventive, original, surprising, and a total delight,” by Cuadranos de Jazz, Madrid). During a career spanning more than 30 years that has taken her from bases in Philadelphia & Boston, to New York and Seattle, Tonooka has been developing a body of work that surprises and delights audiences—quietly piling up accolades from jazz writers and fellow musicians.
Somi: East African vocalist and songwriter Somi made her major-label debut in 2014 with “The Lagos Music Salon,” which landed at No. 1 on U.S. jazz charts. Often referred to as a modern-day Miriam Makeba, Somi’s live show is described by Jazz Times magazine as “the earthy gutsiness of Nina Simone blended with the vocal beauty of Dianne Reeves.” Billboard exclaims that she’s “utterly captivating.”
Regina Carter: Regina Carter is the foremost jazz violinist of her generation and a MacArthur Foundation genius grant recipient who is marking the 100th birthday of the legendary Ella Fitgerald with a new album and touring program. The source of Carter’s musical inspiration, Fitzgerald’s music has been an influence Carter has cherished throughout her life.