Monday, August 4, 2008

The Mingus Big Band to Headline 5th Annual Silver Spring Jazz Festival on September 13

The Mingus Big Band to Headline 5th Annual Silver Spring Jazz Festival on September 13, 2008

The Mingus Big Band will headline an all-star jazz line-up at the fifth annual Silver Spring Jazz Festival to be held Saturday, September 13 from 2 to 10 p.m., in Downtown Silver Spring. This year, the festival moves to the parking lot behind the Lee Building at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road.

Live Nation Washington, D.C. Vice President Ted Mankin was instrumental in getting The Mingus Big Band to perform at this year’s festival. This popular and well-known 14-piece jazz orchestra performs at venues across the country and abroad. Earlier this year, Live Nation reached an agreement with Montgomery County on a lease that will create a dynamic new music, entertainment, and community use venue in downtown Silver Spring called the Fillmore.

The free, outdoor program that attracted more than 25,000 music lovers last year will also feature hometown star Marcus Johnson, the Yaron Elyashiv Quintet, vocalist Gail Shipp of Silver Spring and the Samambaya Quintet.

The program will kick off at 2 p.m. with a showcase of local talent in the Jazz Ensemble Caravan, a New Orleans-style parade of youth jazz ensembles traveling throughout the community, followed by a band competition. The winning youth ensemble will receive the Silver Spring Jazz Festival Trophy.

“This festival really has something for everyone, and I invite jazz fans throughout the area to join us for what promises to be an exciting and memorable event,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett. “I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to Live Nation’s Ted Mankin for his efforts in getting the Mingus Big Band to sign on as headliners at this year’s event. This is certainly one of the ‘big bands’ in the world of jazz and I am very excited about having them come to Silver Spring.”

The Mingus Big Band celebrates the music of the composer and bassist, Charles Mingus, who died in 1979. Under the artistic direction of Sue Mingus, the Mingus Big Band tours extensively in the United States and abroad, and has nine recordings to its credit, six of which have been nominated for Grammy Awards.

Homegrown star Marcus Johnson, an extraordinary jazz keyboardist and composer, performs a blend of contemporary jazz stylings and hip-hop rhythms. Johnson launched the highly successful record label Three Keys and has released four phenomenal albums. He describes his music as “instrumental R&B with a D.C. bounce.”

With a fresh sound and a different approach to jazz than his contemporaries, Israeli-born saxophone player and composer Yaron Elyashiv stays true to traditions. Last year, he was invited to play on veteran jazz singer Myrna Lake’s latest album and a few months later, he went into the studio to record his debut album as a leader titled, “I Remember You,” a selection of original compositions and arrangements of standards.

The Silver Spring Jazz Festival is presented by the Celebrate Downtown Silver Spring Foundation and Montgomery County’s Silver Spring Regional Services Center.

Corporate sponsors include WUSA-TV, Channel 9; Comcast; The Gazette Newspapers; Home Properties; Courtyard by Marriott; Downtown Silver Spring; AFI Silver Theatre; and The Georgian.

Attendees are encouraged to use public transportation – the Silver Spring Metro (Red Line) is two blocks away – and to bring a blanket and/or beach chair. Limited parking is available in the Wayne Avenue Garage, the Town Square Garage, and the garages on Bonifant Street, Cameron at Ramsey Avenue, and Cameron at Fenton. Food vendors will be available.

For more information, call the Silver Spring Regional Services Center at 301-565-7300 or visit

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