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18th Annual Capital Jazz Festival

Day One:
Pavilion Stage – The night opened with laughter and ended in song. Guest host Alonzo Bodden welcomed the crowd opening the 18th Annual Capital Jazz Festival, and the comic Sinbad got the ball rolling and thrilled the audience with his good-natured natural clean humor. Next Gladys Knight graced the Pavilion Stage performing an awesome set of her signature standards “Midnight Train to Georgia”, ‘If I Were Your Woman”, “Neither One of Us” and many other memorable number-one hits. This was the correct jumpstart for this fun-packed weekend.

Day Two:
The Soul Stage - Catching the tail end of Washington D.C. native Johnny Gill’s set, I immediately noticed that he had command of the audience (especially the ladies). The former New Edition member serenaded the onlookers with his signature “My,My,My” and partied to “Rub You The Right Way”. Johnny is presently in the studio working on a new album.

Photo: Laura Izibor

The Soul Stage – Laura Izibor’s dazzling energetic presence was received by a mostly young crowd of Neo Soul fans. Performing “Don’t Stay”, “Shine” and “If Tonight Is My Last”, Laura had the full attention of us all. The highlight of the performance was “From My Heart to Yours”, we loved it.

Photo: Raphael Saadiq

The Soul Stage – Raphael Saadiq is a ball of energy. From the time he hits the stage until he exits, it’s a workout. Sporting a red suit, I knew he would have to loosen the jacket because of the heat and humidity. I believe it was during “100 Yard Dash” when the jacket came off , if I’m not mistaken. He went into the Toni Tony Tone songbook and performed selections from his The Way I See It CD.

Pavilion Stage – Verve recording artist Ledisi is the most talented young singer on the planet. She is so natural it’s scary and you can believe this, when all of the others fade away she will be still holding her own. Ledisi gave a royal performance to close the second day of the festival. My favorite selection, “In the Morning”, topped off the day and got us pumped for the final day.

Day Three:
The Soul Stage – Naturally 7, an a cappella group from New York City, is a group to put on your radar. At first, I thought I was listening to a Hip Hop jazz-flavored Take 6. I wasn’t familiar with their music but you can believe that I am on the hunt for some of their sounds. Their style is unique and intoxicating!

The Soul Stage – Patti LaBelle is the complete package of R&B, jazz, gospel and rock. This is what you get when she graces the stage. Patti never disappoints her fans, always giving her best. Singing her standards “If Only You Knew”, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and “You Are My Friend”. Patti is currently in the studio working on a new album.

Photo: Rachelle Ferrell

Pavilion Stage- Rachelle Ferrell has received the baton passed on by the likes of Minnie Riperton, Sarah Vaughn and Nina Simone. This singer is an instrument; she amazes you with something new every time you witness her in concert. It’s been over ten years since she has been in the recording studio. During the performance, and at the artist workshop, Rachelle announced that she’s recording a new album. Of course the loyal fans got the songs they wanted including “Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This”, a true crowd pleaser.

The Soul Stage – Mint Condition drew the largest crowd at the Soul Stage. This group has magic that never misses a beat. I believe that everyone in the crowd knew all the lyrics to all of their songs including “Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes), “Nothing Left To Say” and “What Kind Of Man Would I Be”. The energy is still there and this group has many miles left in the tank.

Photo: Patrice Rushen

The Soul Stage – Patrice Rushen and Friends (Ndugu Chancler-drums, Eric Marienthal- sax, Doc Powell-guitar, and Freddie Washington-bass). This set was a party and Patrice gave us what we wanted, “Number One”, “Forget Me Nots”, “Haven’t You Heard” and “Remind Me”. This was my favorite performance from the Soul Stage.

The Soul Stage – The Brand New Heavies, the final act for the 2010 Capital Jazz Festival, closed the door in style. Sometimes I feel they should name the group N’Dea Davenport and The Brand New Heavies, she just takes total charge and stands out. “Dream On Dreamer” and “Never Stop” just rocked.

Due to time restraints, I missed these artists:
Day 1
The Family Stone

Day 2
Soul Sista Serene
I received reports from festival goers that these acts were outstanding.

That’s all folks. See you June 3-5, 2011 for the 19th Capital Jazz Festival

Jerry "The Mouse" Clark is a correspondent for The Urban Music Scene" and runs the website , a no fee music informational service

"Music is humanity's gule" – Jerry Clark


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