Contact NCJF

Phone: 910.399.6536

P.O. Box 7681
Wilmington, NC 28406






Wilmington Jazz Hero!

In April, our local community celebrated Sandy Evans on being named one of the "Jazz Journalists Association's Jazz Heroes" at WHQR! Rhonda Bellamy hosted the event with live music and a wonderful buffet! Rhonda Bellamy read congratulatory notes sent from musicians that have played at our festival!!! Local musicians Ryan Woodall-bass, Dave DiMuro-drums, Benny Hill-saxophone, and Julia Walker-Jewell-piano played jazz favorites for the event! Frank Bongiorno gave a heartfelt speech on Sandy's contributions to the community and to UNCW students! We are all thrilled to see Sandy acknowledged as a jazz hero for Wilmington, NC!!!

Congratulations Sandy!
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SUCCESS!! What a JAZZY weekend

Wonderful musicians – great and appreciative audience – three nights sold out attendance - and a welcoming Hotel Ballast! Thank you JAZZ LOVERS! After two years of no live production here in Wilmington, but two successful years of live-streaming from clubs in NYC and the homes of some of our musicians, we were back, LIVE, on the stage at The Hotel Ballast for our 43rd annual North Carolina Jazz Festival! It was a great homecoming for all of us!
Lucy Yeghiazaryan was our vocalist in the 2022 live-streamed performance at The Django Jazz Club in NYC, then live here at the Hotel Ballast in 2023. The audience was welcoming and very appreciative of her performance --- after a standing ovation for her Saturday night set, many of our long-time attendees, as well as newcomers let it be known that they want her back! Good news - Lucy will be back next year for our 44th annual event.
Speaking of long-time attendees and newcomers, it was really wonderful to see the great mix of both at this year’s event. Also noticeable was the mix of ages in the audience. It is really gratifying to see that JAZZ is enjoyed by the younger generation as well as our older supporters who have been our mainstay. WELCOME to our new supporters, we are so happy to have you join us for The North Carolina Jazz Festival’s presentation of some of the world’s finest musicians, playing the style of music that we love.

After 20 years on the North Carolina Jazz Festival board and 17 as the president, I am stepping down from that position, but will remain on the board. Fellow board member Angelo Galleoti will take over as president. I know that he will enjoy it as much as I have! I thank all of our attendees over the years for their support of our jazz presentations and for broadening the scope of the styles of jazz that we present. See you next year at the 44th annual NCJF, February 1-3, 2024. Until then, keep on jazzin’!

Sandy Evans

February 1-3 2024 Wilmington gives a warm welcome to all of the jazz lovers attending our 43rd North Carolina Jazz Festival!  This historic city located on the bank of the Cape Fear River has many interesting shops, art galleries, museums and restaurants, as well as a movie studio, nearby beaches, plus Revolutionary and Civil War sites to explore during your days here. We will fill your evenings with exciting performances by some of the greatest traditional jazz musicians from around the globe! All evening concerts begin at 7:30 pm and held at the Hotel Ballast ballroom

Thursday Night Showcase
Thursday night, our “Special Event” night, is when we feature different styles of jazz. This year we will open with The Port City Trio, a Wilmington based group that is well known in the area for the Jewell Family’s tradition of playing jazz, blues and pop styles of music. We welcome them to our stage, as they feature their daughter Annie, a violinist who was in our very first masterclass, given by Bucky Pizzarelli and Jonathan Russell. Not giving away ages, but Jonathan was about 12 then, and so was Annie!

Our “main event” for the evening will be The Emmet Cohen Trio. Emmet, a multifaceted young American jazz pianist and composer has emerged as one of his generation’s pivotal figures in music and the related arts. Last year he came to Wilmington as pianist for Tootie Heath, who gave a concert at UNCW. The reception by the local jazz community was spectacular, and now we have the opportunity to present Emmet with his own trio as our very special introduction to his “style” of jazz.

The evening’s music will come to a close with some of our weekend All-Stars in a Traditional Jazz Jam!

All Evening Concerts Will Begin At 7:30PM

Friday and Saturday Nights
we will continue our celebration with 15 All-Star musicians playing in the traditional seven sets of six or seven players, each set with a different leader. You will see/hear many of our favorite NCJF musicians plus new additions to our lineup. An exciting 44th annual North Carolina Jazz Festival, you will definitely want to be here for it! These will be 4 ½ hour concerts.

Patron Brunch:
On Saturday from 10:30 until 2pm we treat our patrons to a musical brunch, when all of our All-star musicians play for their pleasure while everyone enjoys a delicious brunch.  During the last hour we have a “jam” when the patrons who are musicians have the opportunity to play with the All-stars.  Fun for all!

Hotel Ballast, Tapestry Collection By Hilton
HOTEL BALLAST is home of the North Carolina Jazz Festival @ Wilmington. Special room rates for festival goers will be $129.00 – $149.00 per night. Reservations must be made by December 31st, 2023 to receive this rate. For hotel reservations please call 910-763-5900 Special thanks for the hospitality shown to all attendees and musicians!!


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