Rosslyn Jazz Festival returns to Virginia

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Rosslyn Jazz Fest (Part 1)

The D.C. Jazz Fest just kicked off in The District, but there’s more jazz across the river.

You can enjoy three weeks of the Rosslyn Jazz Festival in Virginia now through Sept. 18.

“Unfortunately due to COVID, we did miss the 20th anniversary, so this is the 21st annual celebration,” Rosslyn Business Improvement District President Mary-Claire Burick told WTOP. “It’s going to be so amazing to be bringing this back live and in-person. … It’s always a wonderful day of meeting and mixing with your neighbors, making new friends.”

Wednesday kicked off a series of pop-up concerts building up to the main event.

“On Central Place Plaza, we brought the Crush Funk Brass Band,” Burick said. “They were amazing, they played two sets and they’re a local band right from the D.C. area. They entertained us with some R&B, hip-hop, a little bit of jazz, a little bit of rock.”

The next free pop-up music event will be held in the Amuse lounge at Hotel Le Méridien on Sept. 9 for two sets from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and again from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

“We are bringing back by popular demand the jazz supper clubs,” Burick said. “We’re going to bring Akua Allrich, another local act, a Howard U alum, an incredible jazz vocalist and a D.C. native. She’s got such a unique place in our local scene. She includes everything: blues, soul, R&B with a clear grounding in jazz and pan-African music.”

After that, head over to Central Park Plaza on Sept. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m.

“We’re going to bring Cristian Perez, an amazing Argentinian guitarist and composer,” Burick said. “Although he of course has a strong foundation in classical jazz and South American music, he is really a great combination of a world-music band.”

The next day hits Continental Beer Garden on Sept. 16 from 5 to 7 p.m.

“This will be Kingman Island Orchestra, a drum percussion band,” Burick said. “They specialize in calypso-inspired jazz with a New Orleans flair. It’s going to be fun. We’re expecting a groove-centric performance, lots of strong beats. We expect people dancing.”

It all culminates at Gateway Park on Saturday, Sept. 18 from 1 to 5 p.m.

“We’ll have Three Man Soul Machine from 1 to 2, a blend of soul, jazz, blues and reggae,” Burick said. “We’ll have Aaron Myers from 2:30 to 3:30, a D.C.-based jazz artist. … Finally we’re going to wrap it up with Sin Miedo, which is Spanish for ‘fearless,’ which sums up the band’s attitude. … They’re touted as one of the best salsa orchestras.”

You can also enjoy other outdoor festivities throughout the day.

“It’s a daylong celebration,” Burick said. “We’re going to have food trucks on-site, a beer and wine garden. … You can get a 10% discount at participating Rosslyn restaurants.”

Attendance is free, but registration is encouraged.

“It really has built in size and quality over the years,” Burick said. “Our largest jazz fest actually had 10,000 attendees over the course of the day. Obviously, this one will be much smaller [due to the pandemic]. We are encouraging registrations because we want to control the number of attendees and make sure everyone feels really safe and comfortable in the environment.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Rosslyn Jazz Fest (Part 2)

Listen to the full conversation.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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