Chris' Jazz Cafe Organizes The First Ever Virtual East Coast Jazz Festival! - Wooder Ice
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Chris’ Jazz Cafe Organizes The First Ever Virtual East Coast Jazz Festival!

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Chris’ Jazz Cafe Organizes The First Ever Virtual East Coast Jazz Festival!

Chris’ Jazz Cafe Organizes The First Ever Virtual East Coast Jazz Festival!

Chris’ Jazz Cafe Organizes The First Ever Virtual East Coast Jazz Festival!

A collection of the most beloved and well-known jazz clubs on the East Coast have banded together for the first time ever to create the inaugural East Coast Jazz Festival, which will take place online on Saturday, March 20th from 5 to 11 p.m. The proprietors of Scullers Jazz Club in Boston, Smalls and Birdland in New York, Chris’ Jazz Café in Philadelphia, Keystone Korner in Baltimore and Blues Alley in Washington, DC began planning this all-virtual jazz fest at the start of 2021, and the music will flow live with some pre-recorded sessions mixed in from six different stages, and will showcase the talents of more than 60 of the most renown and respected jazz talents of our time.

“It’s a musical first, but one that was needed in order to shake up the jazz world and keep the importance of saving our stages foremost in the minds of audiences around the country,” explained Mark DeNinno, Chef/Owner of Chris’ Jazz Café. “We recently celebrated a major milestone – 32 years of continuously operating in Philly — 2021 marks the 56th continuous year for Blues Alley, and the other jazz clubs have been around even longer, but their continued survival will not be possible if we don’t unite and conceptualize creative ways to ‘ride out’ the coronavirus storm that has decimated the live music industry. We all agreed, as owners of these struggling venues, that we had to do something to keep the live music going and the awareness alive, and this is ‘that something’.”

Harry Schnipper, Executive Director of Blues Alley calls the first annual ECJF a collective cauldron of collaborative creativity. “We have selected three of the jazz world’s most talented pianists to participate as we continue to complement our club colleagues on this historic initiative. The theme of this year’s event is unity or ‘e pluribus unum; in jazz we trust.’”

“This is a very special opportunity to collaborate with these preeminent jazz venues,” said Jan Mullen, Artistic Director, Scullers Jazz Club. “Scullers Jazz Club is excited and honoured to be a part of this inaugural festival! In these extraordinary times we all recognise the value and power of music.”

“Birdland is thrilled to participate in the first ECJF and we hope it becomes an annual event. Not only has the pandemic challenged us and our fellow clubs to accelerate and refine our streaming concert programs, to the benefit of our fans, but the circumstances have also enabled us to program a stunning scope and diversity of artists — otherwise nearly impossible to hear in one evening,” noted Ryan Paternite, Director of Programming & Media, Birdland Jazz Club & Birdland Theater.

“Our music can be an indispensable spiritual life raft for our turbulent times when we need more sharing and caring than ever. May this important ECJF collaboration be just the beginning of an ever-growing process and practice of team work to make the dream work,” said Todd Barkan, NEA Jazz Master / Keystone Korner Baltimore.

Online guests will be able to flip back and forth from one venue to another to check out each club’s shows. Here is the impressive lineup for ECJF:

Chris’ Jazz Cafe

6 p.m.- Alex Claffy Quartet, featuring saxophonist/vocalist Sonny Step

8 p.m. – Ari Hoenig Trio with pianist Gadi Lehavi and bassist Ben Tiberio

10 p.m. – Orrin Evans Quartet with bassist Luques Curtis, drummer Mark Whitfield Jr., and special guest saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins

SmallsLIVE Foundation

5 p.m. – Nicole Glover Trio

7 p.m. – Warren Wolf Quartet

9 p.m. – Mike Ledonne Quartet feat. Vincent Herring

Keystone Korner

5 p.m. – Obasi Akoto Oceanic Jazz Orchestra/ Jean Carn & Company

7 p.m. – Cyrus Chestnut & Affirmation with Tim Green, Obasi Akoto & Quincy Phillips

9 p.m. – Big Chief Donald Harrison with Warren Wolf, Kris Funn, Alex Brown, John Lamkin III

Blues Alley

6 p.m. – Miki Yamanaka

8 p.m. – Eri Yamamoto

10 p.m. – Yoko Miwa

Birdland  (taped)

5 p.m. – David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band / Ken Peplowski & Rossano Sportiello Duo

7 p.m. – Ben Allison, Ted Nash, & Steve Cardeans Play The Music of Jimmy Giuffre & Jim Hall / Champian Fulton  Quartet “Bird Song” A Charlie Parker Centennial Celebration

9 p.m. – Houston Person Quartet / Veronica Swift with The Emmet Cohen Trio

Scullers (taped)

6 p.m. Christian Sands

8 p.m. Keyon Harrold

10 p.m. Tia Fuller

The price to listen to five hours of unmatched, exhilarating jazz from a choice of six different venues is “pay-what-you-wish.” Please visit  http://bit.ly/ECJF0320 to pre-register.

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