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Clifford Brown's Legacy In Good Hands

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Wednesday June 28, 2017

From DownBeat

Brownie’s Legacy In Good Hands at Hometown Fest
By: Eugene Holley Jr.

Danilo Pérez, Somi and Regina Carter headlined the 29th edition of the DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, which ran from June 21–24 in Rodney Square in downtown Wilmington, Delaware. The fest showcased the global musical inventions and dimensions of musicians from three continents —from the French harmonica player Frédéric Yonnet to the New Orleans/Brooklyn-based High and Mighty Brass Band—in a free and fun setting.

Named in honor of the legendary trumpeter and native son Clifford Brown (1930–1956), whose home is but a few blocks away, the festival used to run for seven days, with jam sessions at local clubs and special performances at the palatial Winterthur Estate in suburban Greenville. For much of its existence, Tina Betz was the prime mover of the fest. In recent years, however, the festival has scaled down, and in Betz’s absence, it featured more smooth jazz. Thankfully, Betz is back at the helm as the city’s Acting Director of Cultural Affairs and Festival Curator, and she put together an intelligently programmed festival…

The festival also provided two excellent avatars of the African musical diaspora in Latin jazz. Panamanian pianist-composer Pérez—a superbly mentored musician who worked with Dizzy Gillespie and has been a member of Wayne Shorter’s quartet for nearly 20 years—brought his Panama-centered “global jazz” to the stage with longtime cohorts drummer Adam Cruz and bassist Ben Street. Buoyed by Cruz’s Latin pulsations and Street’s anchoring basslines, Perez’s “Panama 500” danced with his country’s Afro-indigenous dance rhythms, and his centennial shout-out to Thelonious Monk featured riveting renditions of “Evidence,” “Think Of One” and “’Round Midnight”…

But it was the Detroit-born violinist and MacArthur Fellow Regina Carter who took the town, with the kind of artistic virtuosity that approached Brownie’s Olympian heights. She performed selections from her latest recording, Ella: Accentuate The Positive (OKeh), which celebrates the singer’s centennial…

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