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Jazz Festival Showcased Entertainment Across City

Steve Monroe | , Special to Informer r | 6/13/2012, 4:34 p.m.

Family Jazz and More

The festival's Jazz 'n Families event on Saturday featured the Herman Burney Quartet in the Music Room, where saxophonist Paul Carr who entertained a capacity crowd, highlighted the show with some hot riffs on standards.

Sunday night at Bohemian Caverns featured Reggie Pittman, with the New Jersey-based trumpeter leading a group that included veteran area bassist James King and guitarist Marvin Horne - both of whom sparkled on several numbers with drummer Harold Summey.

A Classic Night

Other festival highlights included a "Jazz Meets the Classics" concert at the Kennedy Center -- a star-studded gathering -- that opened with Paquito D'Rivera fronting a group that feastured trumpet virtuoso Michael Philip Mossman. D'Rivera, the consummate entertainer, kept the crowd in good spirits as he led the group through jazzy arrangements of compositions by Chopin, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven. The set also featured sizzling sax work by D'Rivera, Mossman's searing trumpet and pianist Alex Brown's empathetic touch on piano.

Later, bassist Ron Carter and pianist Kenny Barron took the stage for a second set, along with vibraphonist Stefon Harris and drummer Lewis Nash. They earned several ovations for their classical treatment of tunes like, "Air," and Barron's "Phantoms," where Carter was exquisite in his timing and phrasing and timbre on bass. Barron also rendered a superb performance with his vintage melodic lyricism.

During the Philips Collection, the Michael Thomas Quintet rocked with some of his group's pulsating modern bebop, spiced by saxophonist Zach "Warm Daddy" Graddy and Thomas' always sterling work on trumpet.

Later that night, Cyrus Chestnut from Baltimore, demonstrated his talents as a top pianist with his Erroll Garner-like flourishes and dramatic ripples in a set where he was accompanied by John Lee on bass and Greg Hutchinson on drums.

Vocalist Roberta Gambarini glided on to the stage in a steamy, tight-fitting mini-dress, and closed out the evening with some original deliveries on tunes that included the show-stopping "Lush Life," with Chestnut's group providing fine support. In the end, Gambarini got down with the blues as well, on "No More Blues" -- all to the enjoyment of attendees at the sold-out festival.