Richmond Jazz Festival preview, part 1

Headed to the Richmond Jazz Festival this weekend, still deciding, or just want to know what you’ll be missing? Here’s a quick rundown of some of the artists who are scheduled to perform.

Pictured: Vocalist Chaka Khan is schedule to perform at the Richmond Jazz Festival this weekend. Credit: Chrisna Herbst

Headed to the Richmond Jazz Festival this weekend, still deciding, or just want to know what you’ll be missing? Here’s a quick rundown of some of the artists who are scheduled to perform. Part two will follow on Friday.

Chaka Khan

Latest album: “Funk This” (Burgundy Records 2007), which won a Grammy award for Best R&B album.
Claims to fame: Songs “Tell Me Something Good” with Rufus, “I’m Every Woman.”

Stanley Clarke

Latest album: “The Stanley Clarke Band” (Heads Up 2010) with Hiromi.
Claims to fame: Bassist for 1970s jazz fusion group Return to Forever. Played on albums by Paul McCartney, Freddie Hubbard, Aretha Franklin, Art Blakey, Al Jarreau, Nancy Wilson, Frank Foster, Maynard Ferguson, Carlos Santana, McCoy Tyner, Tony Williams, Al DiMeola, and more.

Norman Brown

Latest album: “Sending My Love” (2010)
Claims to fame: Won a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Category in 2002 for album “Just Chillin’.” Has performed with Boyz II Men, Stevie Wonder, and Kirk Whalum.
Wikipedia says: “His music can be heard during The Weather Channel’s ‘Local on the 8s’ segments.”

Poncho Sanchez

Latest album: “Psychadelic Blues” (2009)
Claims to fame: Won a Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2000 for his album “Latin Soul.” Has performed with Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaría, Hugh Masakela, Clare Fischer and Tower of Power.

Big Sam’s Funky Nation

Led by Sammie “Big Sam” Williams (trombonist)
Latest album: King of the Party (2010)
Claims to fame: Williams is a member of Dirty Dozen Brass Band and has a recurring role in the new HBO Original Series, Treme. He learned only in adulthood that he is the great-grandson of Buddy Bolden, the famed New Orleans cornetist. Big Sam’s Funky Nation is prone to playing covers like “Crazy, Inc.,” “Golddigger,” and “No Diggity.”

Sharon Rae North

Latest album: “The Way You Make Me Feel” (2007)
Other: Based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Marcus Johnson

Latest album: This Is How I Rock (2010)
Other: Based in Washington, D.C.

BK Jackson

Latest album: “On The Move” (2008)
Other: Based in Tampa, Florida. Will be a guest performer with Marcus Johnson.

Maestro J.

Latest album: “So Far”
Other: Born in Haiti. Calls his music “neo soul jazz.”

Check back on Friday for part 2.

The Richmond Jazz Festival will take place Saturday, August 14, and Sunday, August 15, at Maymont Park and will feature Chaka Khan, Poncho Sanchez, Chuck Mangione, Boney James, Ledisi, Stanley Clarke, Norman Brown, Plunky and Oneness, and more. For more information and for ticket sales, visit

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Dean Christesen

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Pace In Yo Face on said:


  2. Heavy conceptual sh!t here. I’m going to try to wrap my head around it. It may be a while before I can effectively organize these thoughts into a concise theory, but I hope this might spawn a discussion that will help me materialize a formal idea:

    It seems as if some of these artists may be asking something of their audience that could create a mind-blowing paradoxical association.

    By presenting meteorology music outdoors, in the conditions that meteorology itself studies, some of these musicians are effectively creating a psychological wrinkle in the fabric of consciousness of their audience. A potentially uncomfortable and unidentifiable emotion, similar to the discomfort of familiarity mixed with equal part confusion.

    Are they essentially turning their backs on the 24/7 cable feed that so loyally presented their music for so many years, in favor of playing in support of real weather? Biting the hand that has so lovingly fed them since inception?

    Are these musicians taking a stand for the actual weather elements, rather than the reliable monitoring, recording, and presentation of the elements provided by TWC (formally The Weather Channel)? Is this a metaphor for a larger umbrella of media coverage and broadcast entertainment, or a precisely aimed shot across the bow of television weather reporting?

    Might this be a protest festival against the over-powering wave of reality television in the past 15 years? Could this be seen as artists taking a stand against the homogenization of the entertainment industry?

    Perhaps this is a large-scale, and extremely thought-provoking art installation, rife with social commentary and disdain toward, not just television’s effect on live arts, but cable television’s effect on human inactivity and acceptance of the presentation of reality rather than reality itself.

    Go! Go and experience meteorology music and real weather together! Your television set is not the only place to experience these two things!

    Paradigm explosion. I have not even yet attended the protest and my mind is splintering off into an exponential amount of idea factions that seem to become autonomous, no longer requiring my mental capacity. They do what they will. They, themselves, debate the question of free will versus determinism, and choose… CHOOSE! free will! These ideas just leave their incubator behind without hesitation, just as meteorology music seems to be doing to TWC.

  3. Pace In Yo Face on said:


  4. amazing

  5. Jason on said:

    The Richmond Jazz “Muzak” festival!! …I should say, it looks pretty entertaining.

  6. Did someone say meteorology? I wish I was in town this weekend.

  7. Haha!

  8. DHood on said:

    Quick first impressions:

    1. George Duke is killin’ in the jazziest* of jazz* ways in that Chaka Kahn Clip! And Ronald Bruner Jr.’s first trade is crazy/funny and the second is kind of incredible.

    2. In that Stanley Clarke clip, imagine if the jazz* guitar and piano were replaced by super huge sounding metal shred guitars….

    3. I think Poncho Sanchez should bill himself as Poncho Sanchez and the Incredible Beard Band.

    4. Two(ish) words about the Sam’s Funky Nation clip: Trombone Auto-tune! You wouldn’t have to even think about slide positions; that’s unexplored territory right there!

    5. I’m convinced BK Jackson is sax-syncing in that Fox-13 clip!

    6. And that Maestro J clip brings me back…to this past UR basketball season where the UR Pep band played that song at just about every game! Hey Maestro J you know you’re welcome to come sit in anytime, man; that song usually doesn’t have a solo section but an exception can be made for you!


  9. Ms_Luc on said:

    I attended the first day of the event and plan to attend the 2nd. I love the concept of a local Jazz Festival given that Richmonders often have to travel to Hampton or even New Orleans for this type of line-up. The effort gets an A-plus. However, a few housekeeping items should be worked out before the next Festival.

    1). There should be more signage in both Maymont and Byrd parks to direct attendees to parking and to the satelite lot that provides shuttle service.

    2). The Saturday concerts ended after 11pm. Given that parking was so suspect, sparse, and random, the park should be more well lit. I would hate for someone to be abducted, attacked, or robbed while going back to their vehicle when this is an easy, proactive fix.

    3). I only saw one row of bathrooms which I suppose are to be centered betweent the two stages. Additionally, food vendors are also in one location. I wonder if the placement of these facilities might be better navigated if they were split closer to each of the stages. Attendees seem to have difficulty cutting across the grounds once it got dark.

    4). I love the idea of the large screens, however, during the Chaka Khan show, they were barely functional (not clear, not in HD, random). This seems like an easily correctable thing.

    With the magnitude of the event, the items I have mentioned are minor. The performances were outstanding! Having two separate stages without overlapping some of the more featured artists was ingenius. I anticipate the next Jazz Festival being an even bigger better event!

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