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Local Artists Focus of CapitalBop's Jazz Offerings

Gale Horton Gay | , WI Staff Writer | 5/31/2012, 3:58 p.m.

A series of musical events that put local jazz artists center stage will take place in Washington in early June, part of the DC Jazz Festival.

CapitalBop presents a trio of events that range from concerts to a "MegaFest."

The first event takes place 9 p.m. and midnight June 1 at the Dunes in Northwest featuring the Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra and the Christie Dashiell Quartet.

At 9 p.m. and midnight on June 2 at the Fridge in Southeast the group Tarbaby [featuring musicians Orrin Evans, Nasheet Waits and Eric Revis], Kris Funn & Corner Store are expected to perform. Tickets for each show range from $6 to $10.

On June 9 the afternoon-into-early morning "Jazz Loft MegaFest" takes place beginning at 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. at a converted loft space in Mount Vernon Triangle in Northwest. Organizers describe it as a "multidisciplinary, cross-pollinated experience" that involves music, visual art, film, food and more.

"The MegaFest is our attempt to present jazz in a way that it's never been showcased in this town - a way that's especially hospitable to younger, artistically curious crowds, and also serves stalwart jazz fans," said Giovanni Russonello, editor-in-chief of CapitalBop.com.

Luke Stewart, 25, a co-founder of CapitalBop and a musician, said the aim of "MegaFest" is to give festival-goers an "overload of art and music and all kinds of things coming at people at the same time."

"D.C. has a very strong jazz legacy," said Stewart who lives in Edgewood, a neighborhood in Northeast and who plays bass and sax in the group Laughing Man as well as a trio.

"MegaFest" features four bands, including D.C. native Marc Cary's Cosmic Indigenous, food and drink catered by the Taste of DC, art installations in a "floating gallery," a screening of the film "Icons Among Us" about contemporary jazz, a panel discussion on the synthesis of jazz and hip-hop along with vendors selling vintage clothes and records. Tickets to "MegaFest" are $10-$15. Visit www.capitalbop.com for more information.

This is the second year CapitalBop's events have been a part of the DC Jazz Festival that takes place June 1-10 throughout the District.

Ra-Jah S. Kelley, 28, principal and founder of SHAM, which is responsible for securing art for the event, said one of the unique aspects of "MegaFest" is that it features work by some of the top street artists such as Steven Cummings. He said he hopes the events expand people's understanding of and appreciation for jazz.

"Jazz is a diverse genre," said Kelley who lives in Columbia Heights, a bustling Northwest neighborhood.