29th Annual North Carolina Jazz Festival

Since its inception in 1980, the North Carolina Jazz Festival continues a tradition of bringing world-class jazz musicians to Wilmington, North Carolina. During the weekend of February 5 through 7, 2009, the 29th Annual North Carolina Jazz Festival will present concerts by more than a dozen traditional jazz artists who will perform in a cabaret-style setting at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside's ballroom. Aficionados can see and hear their favorite traditional jazz musicians perform live, along with opportunities to meet and mingle with the artists.

Joining this year's lineup of superb talent for the first time are Israeli clarinet and saxophone player Anat Cohen and Italian pianist Rossano Sportiello. Local audience members will remember Sportiello from his November solo performance at the "Statesmen of Jazz" concert during Jazz Nite 2008 at Thalian Hall. Also new to the 2009 festival are Judy Kurtz (vocals;) and Gypsy Jazz Caravan bassist Mike Weatherly . Returning this year for the all-star lineup on Friday and Saturday evenings are Butch Miles (drums;); Randy Reinhart (trumpet and trombone; ); and Nicki Parrott (bass and vocals;

Back by popular demand are festival favorites Ed Polcer (trumpet/cornet; ); Joe Ascione (drums; ); Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar; ); John Cocuzzi (vibes and piano; ); Houston Person (saxophone; ); and Wycliffe Gordon (trombone; )

The 2009 North Carolina Jazz Festival's Thursday night opening event includes a special half-hour performance of swing music by the UNC-Wilmington Big Band, with a tribute honoring Benny Goodman's 100th birthday. Joining the UNCW Big Band is Mike Waddell, a UNCW music professor and former clarinetist with "The Dukes of Dixieland." Following the opening set, headliner Ed Polcer & His Swingtet will perform "Lionel, Red, and Bunny: A Tribute to Lionel Hampton, Red Norvo, and Bunny Berigan."

"This year's North Carolina Jazz Festival promises to excite and entertain by introducing some new faces and sounds along with much loved jazz musicians from previous years, " states Sandy Evans, Chairman of the N.C. Jazz Festival. "We also continue efforts to promote jazz in the schools by bringing Ed Polcer's Swingtet for a performance/workshop to a local middle school, as well as introducing a student ticket price for each event."

Presented in partnership with the Cape Fear Jazz Society, the N.C. Jazz festival is the only traditional jazz festival of its size on the coast from Virginia to Georgia.

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