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Chestertown Jazz Festival 2019
September 12, 2019 @ 12:00 am - September 16, 2019 @ 12:00 am
Alicia Olatuja, the vocal sensation who stunned millions during President Obama’s second inaugural with her soaring solo during “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” will headline the 2019 Chestertown Jazz Festival’s show in Wilmer Park on Saturday, September 14. The festival will take place in Kent County starting on Thursday, September 12 through Monday, September 16.
Downbeat magazine said Alicia Olatuja (pronounced oh-la TU-ha) “possesses a special instrument: a full-bodied tone, precise pitch and personal engagement at the lowest whisper or highest wail,” and the New York Times called her “a singer with a strong luscious tone and an amiably regal presence on stage.”
Alicia’s appearance on the banks of the Chester River is clearly a coup for Mel Rapelyea’s popular Chestertown Jazz Festival. She’s played Blues Alley in Washington, D.C. and recent bookings take her to New Zealand, Germany and England, then to Miami, Denver, Santa Cruz, Carlsbad, Ogden and San Francisco before the Chestertown Jazz Festival.
The jazz fest tent will be jumping all day starting at noon, kicking off with the 100 Voice Choir of Kent County, reassembled under the direction of Sylvia Frazier. The Washington College Jazz Combo will be up next, directed by pianist extraordinaire Joe Holt. Host of the “Mainstay Mondays” series at The Mainstay in Rock Hall, Joe Holt has been a full-time performer, playing all over the country for 40 years.
The festival will be in full form by mid-afternoon when Baltimore’s well-loved tenor saxophone Greg Thompkins takes the stage with his Greg Thompkins Quintet. Winner of a long list of tributes during his 30 year-year career, Greg is known for his tribute to Thelonius Monk, “Boo Boo’s Birthday,” and his celebration of John Coltraine, “LSQ,” both available on the Roland Park Jazz label.
When Gregor Huebner’s “El Violin Latino 3” steps into the jazz festival spotlight next, the sound will shift to the musical traditions of Cuba and South America from jazz to Bossa Nova, occasionally under the influence of Eastern European Klezmer style. Mel says festival audiences have loved Gregor so much that he’s bringing the violinist group back to Chestertown for the third time.
The Mainstay’s John Thomas has invited one of the world’s finest jazz saxophone players, Larry McKenna and his quartet, to open the festival Thursday night at the Mainstay at 8 p.m. The big event at the Garfield on Friday night will also feature the esteemed Joe Holt, accompanying the sultry, talented, local songstress Barbara Parker. This event will also begin at 8 p.m.
On Sunday as part of the Sumner Hall Film Festival, the famed recording of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, “Jazz on a Summer’s Day,” will be shown. There will be two showings of this acclaimed film.
Believe it or not, Joe Holt will close out the jazz festival at The Mainstay on Monday when “Mainstay Mondays Series” features Joe, Max Murray and Frank Russo.
For more information, visit the Chestertown Jazz Festival page on Facebook or for detailed information and advance ticket sales, visit www.garfieldcenter.org or call 410-810-2060. For the opening and closing events at The Mainstay, visit mainstayrockhall.org or call 410-639-9133. All events in the park are rain or shine.