Wilmington gives a warm welcome to all of the jazz lovers attending the 40th annual North Carolina Jazz Festival on January 23rd, 24th & 25th, 2020 that is right between the Jazzdagen jazz cruise and THE JAZZ CRUISE, so bring your land legs to Wilmington and celebrate! The festival home is The Hotel Ballast (910-963-5900).
This historic city located on the bank of the Cape Fear River has many interesting shops, art galleries, museums, and restaurants, as well as a movie studio, nearby beaches, plus Revolutionary and Civil War sites to explore during your days here.
Fill your evenings with exciting performances by some of the greatest traditional jazz musicians from around the globe!
Enjoy one of the largest traditional jazz festivals in the Southeast.
Here Is Some Information About The Musicians
This year we are bringing you some jazz musicians new to our stage, along with some of our long time favorites . I would like to take this opportunity to “introduce” you to some of our new musicians.
Veronica Swift with the Emmet Cohen Trio:
Our opening night featured guests are Veronica Swift with the Emmet Cohen Trio. Veronica is one of the “Rising Stars” of the jazz world, and often performs at Birdland, Lincoln Center, Mezzrow , and other well known jazz spots in NYC, as well as having a busy jazz cruise and touring schedule.
Veronica has been to the North Carolina Jazz Festival before—-not as a musician, but as a youngster when her parents were performing here! Stephanie Nakasian and the late Hod O’Brien have been featured performers here several times. Veronica is definitely an “apple who has fallen close to the family tree”! Her style is her own, but the influence of her parents is there. Her repertoire is based on The Great American Songbook Standards , with some bebop and vocal classics as well.
The weekend All-stars also include some second generation jazz musicians – Ben Polcer will be joining Bruce Harris in the trumpet section. Ben is the son of Ed Polcer, who was a part of this festival for many years, and vocalist Judy Kurtz. Ben is now living in New Orleans and is involved in the jazz scene there and performs at many jazz festivals across the country.
Chris Gelb, a drummer from NYC who grew up in Durham, NC and studied jazz performance (percussion) at UNCG, is the son of Durham based jazz saxophonist Greg Gelb and vocalist Kathy Gelb. He will join Chuck Redd in the percussion section.
Houston Person will join Adrian Cunningham in the reed section. The festival has been trying to get Houston back on their stage for several years, but the jazz cruise that he goes on was always on the same dates —well, this year the festival is in January and that cruise is after this festival, so at last he is able to perform! Rosssano Sportiello will again be playing the grand piano, and joining him in that section will be another newcomer to the stage Champian Fulton.
We love the fact that there are many wonderful female jazz musicians today, and are happy for the festival to have Champian as the first lady jazz pianist to play at the North Carolina Jazz Festival. The fact that she is also a vocalist is a bonus. She joins Nicki Parrott in our vocal department (though we know that many of our male musicians are vocalists too). This is just a snapshot of the new people who will help celebrate 40 years of great jazz on the stage of the North Carolina Jazz Festival. Others who we know that you all will be happy to see/hear again are Herman Burney (bass), Nate Najar(guitar), Jonathan Russell(violin) and Dion Tucker(trombone).
The festival takes place at the Hotel Ballast Riverside in Wilmington..
For more information on the Jazz musicians and the schedule visit: https://ncjazzfestival.org