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2024 Clifford Brown Jazz Festival Celebrates 37 Years with All-Star Lineup

Updated June 5, 2024
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The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival is set to return to Rodney Square in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, from June 19 to 22, 2024, marking its 37th year with an extraordinary lineup of performers. Cityfest, Inc. has announced the headliners and a full slate of festival events, promising a vibrant celebration of jazz music that honors the legacy of the late jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown.

This year’s festival boasts an impressive lineup, including Chief Adjuah (formerly known as Christian Scott), Jonathan Michel: Black Wonders Quintet, Linda May Han Oh, Joshua Redman Group featuring Gabrielle Cavassa, Dupont Brass, Incognito, Endea Owens & The Cookout, Grace Kelly, the Clifford Brown Festival Orchestra featuring Wycliffe Gordon, Adam Blackstone Legacy, and Boysie Lowery Living Jazz Residency alums Matt Dwonszyk’s “Dwonztet” and the Sarah Hanahan Quartet. Mainstage performances will take place from Wednesday to Saturday, beginning at 5:30 p.m. and running until 10:00 p.m. each night, except on Saturday, June 22, when performances will start at 1:00 p.m.

In addition to the mainstage events, the festival will host post-festival jam sessions from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. at various local venues, including Nomad Bar, Le Cavalier, The Queen, and the Wilmington Public Library. These sessions offer a more intimate setting for jazz enthusiasts to enjoy spontaneous performances by festival artists. For a complete festival lineup, jam session locations, and more information, visit www.cliffordbrownjazzfest.org.

One of the festival’s most appealing aspects is that all pre-festival activities, mainstage performances, and jam sessions are free to attend and open to the public, making it the largest free jazz festival on the East Coast. Attendees of all ages are welcome, and guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating. Rodney Square will be bustling with food trucks and vendors throughout the festival week, providing a variety of dining options. Don’t forget to pick up this year’s festival t-shirt, featuring the 37th annual logo designed by Christopher Mack.

The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival is more than just a musical event; it is a tribute to Clifford Brown, affectionately known as “Brownie,” who was born in 1930 on Wilmington’s east side. Despite his untimely death at the age of 25 in a car accident, Brown left a lasting legacy through his recordings and compositions like “Joy Spring” and “Daahoud,” which have become jazz standards. His influence on subsequent jazz trumpet players, such as Arturo Sandoval, Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan, Booker Little, and Freddie Hubbard, is profound.

The festival is free to enjoy, but donations to Cityfest, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, are encouraged to support future events and initiatives. Donations can be made on the website or by check payable to Cityfest, Inc., 800 North French Street, Wilmington, DE 19801, Attn: Tina Betz, President.

The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival is presented by Cityfest, Inc. and the City of Wilmington, Mayor Mike Purzycki, with generous support from New Castle County, WRTI 90.1 FM, BPG, Downtown Visions, Gerald Chavis Music, Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau, Westin Wilmington, Hyatt Place Wilmington Riverfront, Sheraton Suites Downtown Wilmington, Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Downtown Wilmington, Hotel DuPont, Nomad Bar, the Wilmington Public Library, The Queen, Le Cavalier and DETV.

Mark your calendars for this extraordinary celebration of jazz, community, and the enduring legacy of Clifford Brown.

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