Guide: Charlotte Jazz Festival 2017

This year brings dozens of shows


Frank Stewart

THE CHARLOTTE JAZZ FESTIVAL is back, and it's bigger than ever at Levine Center for the Arts. Below, check out our breakdown of the concerts to see during the week-long affair. (For ticketed events, head to to grab your spot.) 

The Week's Free Events:

Just dipping your toes into the genre? The festival has several opportunities to experience it for free. We suggest the Happy Hour Jazz concerts at the Jazz Pavilion at Levine Center for the Arts.

Happy Hour Jazz (April 20-21)
Thursday, 5 p.m.: Bassis Reggie Sullivan (Quartet)
Thursday, 6:30 p.m.: Al Strong Quartet
Friday, 5 p.m.: A Sign of the Times
Friday, 6:30 p.m.: Duda Lucena Quartet

Also: Lunch Hour Jazz (April 17-21, 11:30 a.m.)
Monday: Robyn Springer & Co.
Tuesday: Mitch Butler Quartet
Wednesday: Bunky Moon
Thursday: Dawn Anthony and the Synergy Jazz Ensemble
Friday: Mark Rapp Group

Other Free Jazz at the Pavilion Shows
Friday, 8 p.m.: Chad Eby/Brandon Lee Quintet
Friday, 9:30 p.m.:  Amos Hoffman Trio
Saturday, 12 p.m.: Jazz Arts Initiative All-Star Youth Ensemble
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: Gino Castillo Cuban Jazz Experience
Saturday, 3 p.m.: Mike Frost with Lauren Meccia
Saturday, 4:30 p.m.:The Harvey Cummings Project
Saturday, 6 p.m.: Wendell Brunious and Friends
Saturday, 7:30 p.m.: Greg Jarrel Quartet
Saturday, 9 p.m.: Kobie Watkins Grouptet

​Late Night Jams at SoCo Bar at Westin Hotel
Friday, 11:30 p.m.: Various performers (with some being members of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra)
Saturday, 11:30 p.m.: Various performers (with some being members of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra)

Jazz Picnic at the Park (Free Shows at Romare Bearden Park)
Sunday, 1 p.m.: The Lovell Bradford Group
Sunday, 2 p.m.: Natural Wonder, The Ultimate Stevie Wonder Experience

Concerts to See If You’re Into the Classics

These festival takes a few a few opportunities to honor the greats. For old heads who love bebop, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra's tribute to Dizzy Gillespie takes over Knight Theater on Friday, April 21 (7:30 p.m.). Also: Joe McBride and Kenny Blake pay tribute to Ray Charles at the Gantt Center on Friday (9:30 p.m.).

Also: Friday, 5:30 p.m.: Rene Marie (Jazz Tent at Romare Bearden Park)
Saturday, 11 a.m.: Creole Jazz Brunch

Concerts to See If You Just Want to Boogie

Two Saturday performances put pep in your step, if you’re looking to move. The large-scale show starring Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis hits Knight Theater on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. But if you really want to shake it, head over to the Romare Bearden Jazz Tent at Romare Bearden Park to see Sammy Miller & The Congregation, a young, energetic act who mixes eras of the genre. That happens at 10 p.m.

Also: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.: First Night Celebration With Herlin Riley Quintet (Jazz Tent at Romare Bearden Park)
Friday, 9:30 p.m.: Hot Jazz With Bria Skonberg (Mint Museum Uptown)

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