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Downtown Jamaica Jazz Festival

A flagship music festival for Downtown Jamaica, Queens – “home of jazz.” The Jamaica Downtown Jazz Festival aims to celebrate the rich jazz heritage rooted in Southeast Queens and promotes generations of talents who hail from diverse cultures residing in this community today. This weekend-long music marathon will pay tribute to a legendary performer each year and feature some of the most prominent names in jazz along with emerging musicians. These concerts will take place in venues along Jamaica Avenue.

Downtown Jamaica Jazz Festival has paid tribute to Jazz legends like the late Milford Graves over the years, while also providing a platform for some of the most prominent emerging musicians on the scene. This year's lineup -- curated by The Jazz Gallery's Rio Sakairi -- is one of its strongest yet. The weekend-long music marathon includes performances from acclaimed artists such as Johnathan Blake, who has established himself as one of the most accomplished drummers of his generation. Fans of JCAL’s “Thursday Night Jazz” series will also notice the return of favorites like Gabriel Chakarji and Caroline Davis.

 

The headliner of this year’s festival will be Grammy winner Jeff “Tain” Watts. Along with explosive power, blinding speed and mastery of complex rhythms and time signatures, Watts brings a rare sense of elegance, tried-by-fire composure, and a gritty street funk to his music. He has released ten albums as a leader and performed with Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Betty Carter, Michael Brecker, Alice Coltrane, Ravi Coltrane, and others. In the film and television industry, Jeff has appeared as both a musician on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and as an actor, Rhythm Jones in Spike Lee’s "Mo Better Blues".

 

The Downtown Jamaica Jazz Festival is made possible with the help of the Queens Delegation and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.