The 9th Annual Duck Jazz Festival will be held on October 11th this year, the Sunday before Columbus Day, and the lineup for this popular event is off the charts! Held on the manicured grounds of the Duck Town Park, people attend for the beautiful waterfront setting as much as they do for their love of great Jazz music.
The Festival is one of those rare events that is free to the public, allows attendees to bring their own wine and beer selections and is a wonderful family friendly activity. This year’s event continues with the tradition of great music performed by outstanding musicians and vocalists.
Headlined by Maceo Parker, his performance style promises something that will appeal to most everyone. For those not familiar with Mr. Parker, just think about the Godfather of Soul; Parker was James Brown’s sax player in the 1960s and 70s when the funk music genre was at the height of popularity. This rhythmic sound was a combination of jazz, soul and rhythm and blues. In addition to playing with James Brown, Maceo has also played with Ray Charles, Prince, Dave Matthews and a long list of notable artists!
If you appreciate heart pounding, feet moving, get your groove going music, then be sure to mark your calendar now. This is the type of funk that gets everyone up. It’s nearly impossible to sit still at a Maceo Parker performance. But the day is more than just Maceo Parker; it could be thought of as a mostly North Carolina jazz revue since Parker is originally from Kinston, NC.
The day kicks off at 11:00 a.m. with the Monitors. This ten person band, whose members’ are scattered throughout the state, have created a unique fusion sound that perfectly blends the blues with jazz. They have fifty years of musical experience between them and have a full spectrum big band sound.
Next up is Mint Julep, another North Carolina based band, who will take you on a nostalgic trip back in time to the crowning moments of the big band era of the 1920s-1940s.
Bria Skonberg is another amazing talent who is creating a stir in the jazz world. An extraordinarily gifted trumpet player, her sound is a bit like a young Louis Armstrong at times, and she tops this skill by being a wonderful vocalist too.
If an entire day of outdoor music is too long for you, arrive at 2:00 p.m. to catch the Bria Skonberg Quintet followed by the distinct sound of Maceo Parker. Although all of the performers are great, this combination will be a close second to spending the entire day on the green.
Aside from this incredible lineup of music, another feature that sets the Duck Jazz Festival apart is the location. The main acts are onstage at the village green, but it’s a short and pleasant stroll to seating at the nearby amphitheater where additional entertainment takes place. There is also a waterfront boardwalk that’s ideal for stretching your legs while enjoying panoramic water views.
As one act finishes and the next is setting up, there’s time to learn about varying aspects of jazz history.
From 1:30 – 2:15, the Monitors take the Amphitheater Stage for a musical history lesson “From Spirituals to Swing,” and about an hour later the First Flight High School Jazz Band plays a set from 3:30-4:00.
The FFHS jazz band is one of the best around, and each time they’ve previously taken this stage, they shown exactly what the buzz surrounding them is about. They’re that good!
Another great facet of hosting the Jazz Festival in our community is that some of the performers have made appearances at schools to work alongside children in band classes, and traditionally, select FFHS musicians gain the opportunity to perform onstage with the headliners. We hope that happens again this year. It’s a great confidence booster and a wonderful experience for our youth.