Reviews

Reviews of the 38th Annual NCJF

We discovered the NC Jazz Festival 2 years ago and now plan to be regular enthusiasts every year. The primary draw is the music, of course. Not only are the performances top-notch, but the interplay and improvisation between the musicians – and the appreciation of the audience – show that this is a gathering of friends who have no place they’d rather be. Having the music take place in the Hilton is wonderfully convenient; and wandering the Wilmington streets and enjoying the great restaurants in the few hours when we’re not enjoying the shows is a great bonus. Not only is the NCJF a unique experience, it’s one that we’re looking forward to for many years to come. By the way, check is in the mail for 2019!
~ Kathy & Jeff Pompe – Seabrook, SC


My introduction to the North Carolina Jazz Festival in 2018 made me a friend – and a fan – for life. NCJF is a unique, fluid presentation of stellar jazz talent, in many genres, in a welcoming, intimate setting. The musicians and the audience live the joy of playing, collaborating and listening to excellent music. Everyone has fun at this festival, which has the atmosphere of a three-day jam session. NCJF is a true highlight of the winter entertainment season.
~ Linda Y. from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (patron)


Just wanted to write and give my thanks for a fun and beautiful experience at the festival. i really enjoyed it, and my hat is off to all of you….you are clearly doing something right! Really great to see such a large, diverse, happy and supportive crowd. It’s a great festival…long may it wave!
~ S.R. from NYNY (musician)


The 2018 Festival opened Thursday night, February 1, with a local group, this year Mangroove, a creation of Manny Santos. Their tribute to Horace Silver featured local musicians Teddy Burgh, Brian Miller, Jack Krupicka and Doug Irving. The group especially thrilled the audience with “Song for My Father”.

The final set of the night was a high energy jam session by the NCJF All-Stars, led by Adrian Cunningham, giving the audience a taste of what is to come over the next two nights. Because Friday and Saturday of the Festival are organized into seven sets per night, each led by a different musician, there is a nice range of styles and influences throughout the weekend. Each “leader” selects his or her music and then pulls in different combinations of the All-Star musicians, keeping the fourteen sets fresh and interesting.

This festival gets a lot of things right, but most importantly it gets the music right. All of the musicians are highly regarded by their peers in the jazz community. We are so fortunate they enjoy coming to Wilmington to together create a rich tapestry of music for three delightful nights. I’m looking forward to the 39th North Carolina Jazz Festival and hope you are as well.

Reviews of the 37th Annual NCJF

“It’s a great event—.Think of the benefit it is to Wilmington.” from B (attendee/sponsor)


“Another great Jazz Festival in the books! How it keeps getting better and better each year amazes me——-” from G & B (attendees)


“Congratulation on a successful event!” from S (attendee)


“Thank you for providing such a wonderful weekend for all of us! In an age where most of other Jazz Party attendances are dwindling dangerously it was so nice to look out and see a full room every night!” from R (one of the musicians)


“I had a wonderful time playing and meeting new musicians and also getting a chance to meet with the audience members I am blown away by the attendance and the attitudes of every musician—” from K (another musician)


“Sitting at the airport at 5:30 am is rarely a joyful experience, but I am warmed by the happy memories I have from the past days at the Jazz Festival. What a pleasure and privilege to listen to and make music with all you fine folks.—- NCJF organization, the hotel staff, the teachers and arts funders at schools, I feel much gratitude to all.” J (yet another musician)

Time Warner Cable News

Time Warner Cable News reporter Jessica Nelson shows us how the festival has grown and what organizers are doing to keep jazz alive.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO REVIEW

John Ayers
Printed in Tailgate Ramblings – newsletter of the Potomac River Jazz Club

In a past issue of the tailgate, Charles Enlind wrote that since the Chattanooga festival has been discontinued, we should divert our attention to the North Carolina Jazz Festival in Wilmington. With that, I decided to give Wilmington a try.

The venue consists of two nights featuring jazz masters from all over including Australia and piano player from Italy. The musicians play in various combinations with each one leading a group. Every performance was superb, and if any combination was favored over another it was only a matter of personal taste. I have to admit a weakness for Honey Bria.

Besides great music, Wilmington has many charms. The water front cafes and historic homes remind one of “Nawlins” and other coastal cities. I highly recommend Wilmington as an alternative festival. Add them to your calendar for next year!

Our thanks to John Ayers for this unsolicited review, and to Charles Enlind for his recommendation – unfortunately John was not aware of our Thursday night “Special Event” which is a part of the NCJF event.