by Cesca Janece Waterfield
On Aug. 14-15, the first Richmond Jazz Festival will fill the 100-acre Maymont Park in Richmond, featuring some of the biggest names in jazz. The multi-stage event will in part benefit the Maymont Foundation and Richmond Jazz Society. If beautiful scenery and world class live music aren’t enough to convince you, we put together 20 additional reasons why you should be part of this Richmond-first.
She sang for iconic funk band Rufus. Chaka helped propel the Chicago band to international success with hits like “Tell Me Something Good,” “Stay” and “Sweet Thing.” Then she launched a solo career, recording songs including “I’m Every Woman,” “Ain’t Nobody,” “I Feel for You” and “Through the Fire.”
Her fans call themselves “Chaka-holics.” Be honest – don’t you want to call yourself that too?
She’s been heralded by the best. Jazz singer Betty Carter praised Chaka Khan for her vocal improvisation skills after hearing “Be Bop Melody,” which won her a Grammy.
Her fan base is diverse. Chaka was invited to sing at both the 2000 Democratic and Republican conventions, although she has said in previous interviews that she considers herself primarily a Democrat.
She’s recovered from real-life battles. After years of struggling with her weight and with drug abuse, Chaka has embraced Christianity, and participated in a live all-star gospel concert for artist Richard Smallwood.
She’s won ten Grammy Awards. Two of them were as a member of Rufus. She’s been nominated for an additional 12.
She’s still experimenting artistically. In 2008, she recorded a duet with Mary J. Blige and the pair won a Grammy.
He’s a premiere American artist of our time. Born March 13, 1962, the trumpeter, bandleader, arranger, and composer was partly responsible for the jazz resurgence of the 1980s. He has stayed true to a hard bop tradition yet managed innovation, recently implementing an African-fusion style of playing.
Chances are, a favorite movie of yours bears his unmistakable compositional style. Terence has more than 40 film scores to his credit and his trumpet can be heard on nearly 50. He’s written the score for all of Spike Lee’s films. He also composed the score for Lee’s Hurricane Katrina HBO documentary, “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.”
He’s devoted to family. Growing up, Blanchard’s mother Wilhelmina was a part-time opera singer while his father Joseph Oliver was an insurance company manager. In 2006, Terence appeared with his mother in Lee’s documentary as the two travelled to her home only to find it devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
He developed those consummate musical chops over a lifetime. Terence began playing piano at the age of five and three years later picked up a trumpet, playing alongside childhood friend Wynton Marsalis.
He’s serious about music, but he’s not stuffy. Terence played all of the alligator Louis’ trumpet parts in the Disney movie, “The Princess and the Frog” and was the voice of Earl the Bandleader.
Wynton Marsalis recommends him. When Wynton left Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, he suggested Terence to take his place. Terence took on the roles of musical director and trumpeter with the group until he left in 1990 to pursue a solo career. He has recorded award-winning albums for Blue Note Records, Columbia and Sony Classical.
He’s in exceptional company. Since 2000, Blanchard has served as Artistic Director at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which provides a free, two-year master’s program to a select group of students. Herbie Hancock is Chairman and trustees include Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Heath and Clark Terry.
He lives in the city where he was born. Visit the Garden District of “N’awlins” and you may see Terence with his wife and children.
He mixes it up. Boney James was born James Oppenheim in 1961. The saxophonist, songwriter and producer blends contemporary jazz with R&B and hip-hop and has sales totaling over 3 million.
He’s sexy. He’s called “Send One Your Love,” his most recent release, “The ultimate make-out CD” in previous interviews. It spent eight weeks at number one on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz charts.
He’s got cool friends. Al Jarreau, Philip Bailey, Faith Evans, George Benson, Anthony Hamilton, Jaheim, and Angie Stone have made guest appearances on Boney’s records.
He’s got old school credibility. He played with Morris Day’s band in the 1980s. He’s also toured and worked with the Isley Brothers, Teena Marie and many others.
He collects awards. A three-time Grammy Award nominee, Boney has won a Soul Train Award and been honored with an NAACP Image Award. Last year, Billboard ranked him the number three Billboard Contemporary Jazz Artist of the Decade.
Richmond Jazz Festival at Maymont Schedule
The festival will be held from noon to 9 pm on Aug. 14 and from noon to 7 pm on Aug. 15. Tickets, bought in advance are $25 for one day; $40 for a two-day pass. Tickets at the gate are $30 for one day or $50 for a two-day pass.
• Poncho Sanchez
• Norman Brown
• Stanley Clarke
• Chaka Khan
• Rick Braun and Richard Elliot
• Lalah Hathaway
• Terence Blanchard
• Sharon Rae North:
• Big Sam’s Funky Nation
• Joye B Moore
• Boney James
• Alex Bugnon
• Bob Baldwin
• Chuck Mangione
• Marcus Johnson
• Plunky and Oneness:
• Maestro J