By Mike Goodman

With dozens of performances in venues across the city, the annual DC JazzFest (DCJF) is one of the largest music festivals in the country. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the DC Jazz Festival celebrates America’s unique original art form during this international event that attracts jazz lovers from around the world. This year, the DCJF runs from August 31-September 4, and features a heavy presence in Southwest.

On August 31, the festival opens at the Howard Theatre with performances by Kurt Elling and Christie Dashiell. Then, on September 1, the festival heads to Southwest with a performance by Regina Carter at Arena Stage. Carter was just announced as a National Endowments for the Arts (NEA) 2023 Jazz Master. She is the first woman to receive the triple recognition of a MacArthur Fellow, Doris Duke Awardee and now NEA Jazz Master. 

On September 2, the festival will stay at Arena Stage with a performances by Dianne Reeves and Orrin Evans Captain Black Big Band.

Then, DC JazzFest at The Wharf will take place September 3-4, featuring multiple waterfront stages, as well as the DCJazzPrix international band competition at Union Stage. On September 3, the lineup includes Cindy Blackman Santana, Ron Carter, Mambo Legends Orchestra, The Baylor Project, Chien Chien Lu, Larnell Lewis Quintet, Joy Lapps, Giveton Gelin Quintet, Heidi Martin, The Jalen Baker Quartet, The Julieta Eugenio Trio and Akua Allrich & The Tribe.

On September 4, DC JazzFest at The Wharf will feature Christian McBride & Inside Straight, Emmet Cohen Trio, Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCE, Patrick Zimmerli featuring Chris Potter & EJ Strickland, Letter One/Rising Star: Dan Wilson Trio, Donvonte McCoy and Vox Sambou.
For more information about DCJF, and to purchase tickets, visit

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