Maryland's capital will host a world of music in the second year of the Annapolis Jazz & Roots Festival on two weekends from November 3-12. The historic port will come alive with music from many countries and cultures performed by international and regional artists.
Some events require admission; others are free. They are held at four sites in Eastport, the maritime heart and soul of Annapolis.
Weekend One: November 3-5
The 2023 festival kicks off on November 3 with Halley’s Hot Gumbo Swingtet at the historic Peerless Rens Club in Eastport. Halley Shoenberg performs and records with numerous ensembles on clarinet, saxophone and flute. She has led concerts at Blues Alley and Strathmore, appeared at Carlyle Club and The Kennedy Center and entertained crowds of swing dancers at Glen Echo, Mobtown Ballroom and Potomac River Jazz Club events. Annapolis shows are at 6:00pm and 8:00pm.
Two entertaining and educational events will be held at Eastport-Annapolis Neck Library. The first is on November 4 at 11:00am. Nyame Nti will perform traditional West African drumming. Its rhythms are considered foundational elements in the development of American jazz. Listeners will hear traditional rhythms such as Kou Kou, Jondon/Wolosodon, Balanta, and Kakilambé and begin to understand their cultural and historical significance.
Grammy-nominated lutenist Ronn McFarlane returns to Annapolis at Eastport United Methodist Church on November 5 at 4:00pm, performing music of the British Isles with Ayreheart and guest vocalist Heather Aubrey Lloyd. McFarlane founded Ayreheart to bring the lute, the most popular instrument of the Renaissance, into the 21st century. The musicians combine traditional roots music with modern compositions in a festive program.
Weekend Two: November 11-13
A trio of virtuosos will dazzle audiences on November 10 at 7:00pm when international stars of the fusion group Melodic Intersect perform at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Tabla player Enayet Hossain, keyboardist Greg Hatza and sitar player Hidayat Khan will fuse classical Indian music with American jazz, as they have on high-charting albums.
On November 11 at 11:00am, Maryland state archivist, actor and writer Chris Haley will give a presentation on indentured servitude and slavery from implementation for early settlers in the 1600s to the abolition of slavery with the passage of Maryland’s 1864 state constitution. Hear the remarkable story of Mathias de Sousa. One of the original settlers to arrive aboard the Ark and the Dove in the 1600s, he rose from indentured servitude to become a member of the Maryland General Assembly. Haley will also address how slavery and indentured servitude affected the life and legacy of famous Marylander Benjamin Banneker. This is the second festival event being held at Eastport-Annapolis Neck Library.
At 4:00pm on November 11, a Veteran’s Day concert will feature jazz singer Hazel Mitchell-Bell. Her band will welcome a special guest from Anne Arundel County: Annie Award-winning saxophonist Terry Koger. Mitchell-Bell’s blend of jazz, R&B, and show tunes is featured on two albums and each passing year takes her to more distant points in the U.S. and abroad. She will return from a South American tour just in time to appear at Eastport United Methodist Church for the Annapolis Jazz & Roots Festival.
The festival concludes November 12 with a program entitled “Bossa Nova and Beyond.” The show takes place at 4:00pm at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Amoroso features Annapolitans Dick Rausch on guitar/vocals and vocalist Elizabeth Melvin. They will be joined by pianist and educator Harry Appelman and two special guests: Brazilian brothers Leonardo Lucini (bass) and Bruno Lucini (percussion).
Annapolis Jazz & Roots operates under the umbrella of the Annapolis Community Foundation. The organization is grateful for support from the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County, Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County and Visit Maryland, and Anne Arundel County Public Library Foundation. Venue and presenting partners Alkebulan and Jazz Beyond Borders are major in-kind contributors along with All About Jazz and Jazz Near You. Business sponsors include Palate Pleasers, Colony Liquor Mart and Irish Restaurant Company, comprised of Galway Bay in Annapolis, Killarney House in Davidsonville, Brian Boru in Severna Park, and Pirates Cove in Galesville.
Reservations are required for all events. Visit www.annapolisjazzandrootsfestival.com for tickets and information about artists, music and venues.