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Crescent City Meets Capitol City at Duke Ellington Jazz Fest

Misty Brown | 5/28/2009, 1:23 a.m.

A tribute to New Orleans and the €birth of jazz€ will highlight this year€s Fifth Anniversary Duke Ellington Jazz Festival (DEJF) in June on the Mall. The 10-day jazz celebration (June 5-15) will include free concerts and a musical tribute honoring New Orleans€ own Ellis Marsellis, who will perform with his sons, in what has become the largest jazz festival in the nation€s capital.

€We€re excited to pay tribute to the unique, rich and diverse musical heritage of New Orleans,€ said DEJF executive director and founder Charles Fishman,

In addition to a two-day free performance on the Mall, more than 35 venues including clubs, restaurants and hotels across the city will immerse patrons in a jazz tribute to the Crescent City.

Marc H. Morial, former New Orleans Mayor, now president and CEO of the National Urban League, is the DEJF honorary co-chairman. €I have been involved in many projects and positions that have evoked a great sense of pride, and my involvement with the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival enhances this list,€ Morial said.

€We will honor New Orleans€ own musical treasure pianist, composer and educator Ellis Marsalis in €Celebrating a Jazz Master: Ellis Marsalis€ at our annual Jazz Concert presented at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts,€ Fishman said.

The tribute will include a rare performance with Marsalis and his sons: Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason with band members Herlin Riley, Eric Revis, Harry Connick, Jr. and Dr. Billy Taylor.

The free €New Orleans on the National Mall€ concert will be held on Wed., June 10 from 1 to 7:30 p.m. where the Rebirth Brass Band, Little Freddie King, Grammy Award-winner Nicholas Payton, Don Vappie & The Creole Serenaders and the Duke Ellington Orchestra€s New Orleans Suite will perform.

Grammy Award-winner Terence Blanchard will perform in the €New Orleans on the National Mall Twilight Concert: A Tale of God€s Will€"A Requiem Katrina€ on Fri., June 12 at 7:30 p.m. which will be followed by two all-day extravaganzas,€ Fishman said.

Proceeds from this festival will go toward building the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans, €a place that will inspire a new generation of jazz musicians and listeners,€ said Thomas Hale Boggs, Jr., DEJF honorary co-chair.

Some proceeds will also go to the non-profit organization Musicians Village, founded by Branford Marsalis and Connick.

€It will be exciting and different to visit Washington, D.C. for an exceptional 10-day festival,€ said Ruselle Rocke, New Orleans music producer and author, who is accustomed to seeing the artists perform at the annual jazz festival held in New Orleans.

Bardia€s New Orleans Caf in Adams Morgan, is located a few short blocks for the DEJF€s headquarters and is among the restaurants participating in the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival. Bardia€s executive chef Bardia P. Ferdowski, promises, €The musicians will find a home away from home€ during the annual jazz festival.

For more information on the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival, visit www.dejazzfest.org