Baltimore has plenty of jazz history, first and foremost being Billie Holiday’s roots in the city. In the fall, a new festival is set to debut to spotlight the music form.
The debut Baltimore Jazz Fest is set for Oct. 1 in Druid Hill Park, according to a press release issued Thursday. It will run from noon-8 p.m., with the Hot Club of Baltimore, The Greg Hatza Organization, Rumba Club, Clarence Ward III and Art Sherrod, Jr. already signed on as performers.
Though it’s new on the calendar, the event points to a renewed spotlight for jazz in Baltimore. Clubs on Pennsylvania Avenue played host to many stars of the day, with the Royal Theater attracting stars like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Pearl Bailey. With those clubs long closed, today’s scene is less centralized among clubs and college programs but a local community is active. A large, outdoor event with the ability to draw a wide cross-section of people could become a larger umbrella to communicate what’s happening to a bigger audience. The Baltimore Jazz Alliance, which is organizing the festival, also has a calendar of events.
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