17th Annual DC JazzFest Kicks Off at House of Sweden (photos)


It was stormy outside but there was magic inside the House of Sweden on the Georgetown waterfront on the evening of Sept 1.

After a year off due to the pandemic, the popular 17th Annual DC Jazz Festival returned to the District with a sparkling opening ceremony, hosted by Swedish Ambassador Karin Olofsdotter. A cocktail reception for invited guests was followed by separate 45-minute performances from acclaimed saxophonist Joshua Redman and award-winning Swedish singer and composer Sirintip “Tippan” Phasuk.

The eight-time Grammy Award-nominated Redman opened the festival with his soulful interpretation of  “Surry With a Fringe On Top” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” He was ably supported by Zachary Moses Ostroff on bass and Brian Blade on drums.

As jazz spread around the world, it drew on national, regional, and local musical cultures, which gave rise to different styles. Sirintip is a prime example, drawing across three cultures, that of Thailand, Sweden and America, to create a unique sound, touching on jazz, pop and R&B, and incorporating a guitar pedal board to create different vocal effects.

This year’s edition of JazzFest has been cut back from the traditional 10 days to five — Sept. 1 to 5. Still, it will include more than 20 concerts, interviews and events featuring international and Washington, D.C.-based talent. Its signature event, “DC JazzFest at The Wharf” will take place Sept 4 to 5, over Labor Day Weekend, as a hybrid of in-person and live-streamed performances to a worldwide audience.

“I am a firm believer of the power of music on all of us” said opening night attendee José Alberto Uclés of the the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He added that DC JazzFest “does an amazing job… five days full of amazing performers from all around the world that come to D.C. and give us such wonderful music in such diverse venues and locations that are just awesome.”

For 2021, registration is required for attendance.  Everyone attending 2021 DC JazzFest events (indoor and outdoor) will be required to show proof of full vaccination against Covid-19 or a negative test within the past 72 hours of the day of the event along with a matching photo ID. Proof of vaccination can be your physical vaccine card or a photo of your vaccine card. Since a vaccine has not been approved for use on children under age 12, a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event will be required. All children under the age of 12 will be required to wear masks for both indoor and outdoor events. Without proof of vaccination or negative test results, you will not be allowed to enter the event.

“Day 1 of the DC Jazz Festival has been absolutely fantastic with Joshua Redman on the American side and Sirintip on the Swedish side,” observed an ebullient Sunny Sumter, executive director of the DC Jazz Festival. “So, tell your friends and let’s celebrate all things jazz right here in D.C.”

Visit the festival website for full schedule and ticketing information. 

View Jeff Malet’s photos from the DC JazzFest Opening Ceremony by clicking on the photo icons below.

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