Photos | Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival

Saxophone legend Jimmy Heath saunters onto the festival's Ronnie Wells Main Stage.

by Giovanni Russonello
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The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival has come and gone, leaving many a satisfied jazz fan in its wake. I was only able to make it out for the first night, but even that brief taste sent me reeling. Executive Director Paul Carr pointedly ensured that all the festival’s music was straight-ahead (this year’s motto was “Standing up for Real Jazz”), but within that genre he brought in a dizzying array of talent.

The ages represented varied wildly: High school bands and a combo led by teenage drum talent Aaron Seeber played in the atrium, while the legendary octogenarian Jimmy Heath thrilled audiences on the main stage. And the music itself ranged from vocalist Denise King’s soulful takes on standards to Nasar Abadey and Supernova’s grooving and churning original compositions. All the while, vendors selling African art, clothing and incense lent a feeling of community and strong roots to this vibrant celebration of music that’s vitally important both for its history and its constant regeneration. Here are a few shots from Friday’s performances.

Saxophonist Braxton Cook solos as the teenage drummer Aaron Seeber leads his quintet in the atrium.

Jimmy Heath performs with Baltimore saxophone master Whit Williams.

Singer Denise King lights up the crowd with interactive and high-energy renditions of classic jazz standards and blues tunes.

Saxophonist Bruce Swaim and bassist James King swing in the Jazz Club room.

Attendees shop at the makeshift African bazaar in the Hilton's hallways.

Photos by Giovanni Russonello / CapitalBop

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