DC Jazz Fest Kicks Off October 1st with Boost from Patton Boggs, A Founding Sponsor

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    If you are interested in attending opening gala on Oct. 1 contact: Jana La Sorte at 347-726-8325

    Washington, D.C., September 25—The Fourth Annual Duke Ellington Jazz Festival takes center stage on Wednesday, Oct. 1, bringing Washington more than 100 performances in some 50 venues across the city--not to mention some much-needed relief from bitter presidential politics and the financial woes of Wall Street.

    Patton Boggs LLP has proudly supported the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival (DEJF) since its inception four years ago. Each year the firm provides a major financial contribution as well as free legal work for the festival ranging from obtaining visas for foreign musicians to incorporating the festival as a tax-exempt non-profit to assisting fund-raising efforts.

    The firm’s hope is to preserve jazz as a sacred American art form over the course of the week-long festival (Oct. 1-7) and to entice a whole new generation to listen to and gain an appreciation for jazz as a singular original art form. The Jazz festival has become the largest music festival in the District, attracting more than 40,000 jazz fans, local business support and global recognition in the jazz community.

    This year’s performances will feature multiple Grammy Award-winning saxophonist, clarinetist and composer Paquito D’Rivera – who serves as artistic advisor to the DEJF - Taj Mahal; Dee Dee Bridgewater; McCoy Tyner; Christian McBride and Monty Alexander, among other superb artists. More than 120 DC-based jazz musicians will perform.

    “In the spirit of diversity and our commitment to the Washington community, Patton Boggs is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor of the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival,” said Rodney Slater, an honorary chairman of the festival and co-chair of the Patton Boggs diversity committee. “Jazz - from its African roots to Latin rhythms and classic Bebop - reflects America's diversity at its best.”

    Some of the highlights of the festival this year include six free student concerts; two free all-day concerts on the National Mall, Jazz ‘n Families Fun Day on Saturday, October 4th and the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival’s signature extravaganza featuring seven hours of jazz on Sunday, October 5th.

    This year, the John Conyers Jr. Jazz Advocacy Award will be awarded to outgoing National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia. The award is named in honor of the Democratic congressman from Michigan who is a well known jazz aficionado in addition to overseeing the House Judiciary Committee.

    Conyers played an instrumental role in getting Congress to approve a 2004 resolution declaring that, “Jazz is hereby designated a rare and valuable national American treasure to which we should devote our attention, support and resources to make certain it is preserved, understood and promulgated.”

    In addition to Conyers, more than 100 lawmakers have supported the DEJF on its honorary host committee. The 2008 Honorary Congressional Host Committee is headed by Sens. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Reps. Conyers, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Delegate-DC; Tom Davis, R-Va., and Thadddeus McCotter, R-Mich., in the House.

    The Duke Ellington Jazz Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to renowned jazz impresario George Wein, founder of the first outdoor jazz festival, the famed Newport Jazz Festival, and “godfather” of the international jazz festival network; and to Roger “Buck” Hill, a legendary DC-based saxophonist.

    Holmes Norton noted that the festival is particularly important to Washington, D.C., because the city is the birthplace of Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, one of the most important and celebrated musical geniuses of the 20th Century.

    “This festival brings Washington together to celebrate the city’s deep roots in jazz—music that crosses all races and economic classes, music that inspires the best in all of us,” Holmes Norton said. “The festival could not come at a better time given all that is happening on Wall Street and Main Street.”

    For more information about the festival, go to: www.dcjazzfest.org

    Press Contacts

    Angelo Kakolyris +1 973 848 5621