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Willard Jenkins Named DC Jazz Festival Artistic Director

The DC Jazz Festival has named independent arts consultant, producer and journalist-author Willard Jenkins as artistic director. He has served as artistic director of the Tri-C JazzFest (Cleveland), the Beantown Jazz Festival (Boston), Tribeca Performing Arts Center (New York), and as artistic consultant to the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival (Maryland), 651Arts (Brooklyn), Harlem Stage/Aaron Davis Hall (New York) and the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.).

Nicole Mitchell/Tomeka Reid/Mike Reed

After 15 years of music collaborations in a variety of ensemble contexts, the all-star trio of Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid and Mike Reed have come together to celebrate their long-term relationship and their common cultural and aesthetic threads. All are members of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and served on the organization's executive board from 2009 to 2011 (holding the positions of Chairperson, Treasurer and Vice Chairperson, respectively).

Kris Funn

Kristopher Funn was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He began playing the trumpet at age four and took up the double bass at age 14 upon entering high school. Through the instruction of his father, Charles Funn, Kristopher performed his first professional bass gig the same year he began learning the instrument. Other early accomplishments included winning the “unsung hero” at the Fish Middleton jazz competition at the East Coast Jazz festival also in the first year of instruction.

Ernest Khabeer Dawkins Orchestra

One of the life goals of Ernest Dawkins, is for his music and compositions to reflect the evolving collective cultural memory of the American jazz aesthetic.  Dawkins is one of the world’s premiere saxophonists and composers. He is an entrepreneur with years of experience working with new media technologies to produce and promote his work and that of the jazz community online and in digital venues. He is leader of several ensembles, including the New Horizons Ensemble, Aesop Quartet, Chicago Trio, Live the Spirit Big Band, and the Chicago 12.

Elliott Hughes

Elliott Hughes is a composer and trumpet player, who combines interests in jazz, new music (contemporary classical) and electroacoustic music.  He has had his music performed in New York, Canada, Hong Kong and around Australia, including by leading ensembles such as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Bennetts Lane Big Band, and Syzygy Ensemble.

He released his debut recording in 2012 with his large ensemble Horizon Art Orchestra, a modified big band that specialises in presenting new (often challenging!) music.  

Braxton Cook Quartet

As a young emerging saxophonist, Braxton Cook has already garnered several honors and accolades. While in high school, he had been honored to be one of 30 other high school musicians selected from a nationwide competition to participate in the 2009 Grammy Jazz ensemble, held during the same week as the Grammy Awards. Braxton had also been accepted into the Vail Jazz Workshop, a select group of musicians nationwide, where he studied with Jeff Clayton, John Clayton, Bill Cunliffe, Terrell Stafford and Lewis Nash.