June 13th – 20th is when the 27th annual Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, a vibrant celebration of music and life, will be held this year. The festival, which draws between 7,000 and 12,000 people every day, is the largest free outdoor jazz event on the East Coast, making it a powerhouse event that is not to be missed.
The Man and His Legacy: a History of Clifford Brown and the Jazz Festival in His Honor
A native of Wilmington, Clifford Brown was a jazz trumpeter and composer active in the 1950s. Brown’s life was cut short by a fatal car accident on June 26, 1956. Though Brown only lived to be 25, he had a profound influence on the shape of jazz to come.
Musicians like Sonny Rollins, Art Farmer, and Quincy Jones have praised Brown’s talent , and two of Brown’s compositions—Joy Spring and Daahoud—have become jazz standards. In 1972, jazz magazine Down Beat inducted Brown into the Jazz Hall of Fame.
The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival began in 1988 as a way to honor Brown’s prodigious talent and the indelible mark Brown left on American music. Over the years, a number of famous jazz musicians have graced the festival’s stage, including Herbie Hancock, Lou Rawls, Wynton Marsalis, Benny Golson, Regina Carter, and Chuck Mangione.
What’s Happening in 2015
This year’s incarnation of the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival promises once again to be a hit. While the entire festival lineup has not yet been announced, organizers have revealed that an “all-star Clifford Brown tribute band” comprising up-and-coming musicians and established greats will take the stage this year.
Organizers are also planning a number of after parties, with details to be announced. Certainly, these events will be every bit as buoyant and lively as the festival itself.
The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival presents a chance for travelers to unwind and let loose in the city of Wilmington, and that’s not an opportunity anyone should pass up. For now, interested readers should bookmark the festival’s website and keep an eye out as performers and events are being scheduled.