Silver Spring Jazz Festival


With clear skies and very comfortable temps, yesterday was perfect for an outdoor event. Now in its 3rd year, the Silver Spring Jazz Festival drew large crowds of fans from all over the DC area. The festival is located downtown at the corner of Fenton and Ellsworth in Veterans Park (map),
although it may have to be relocated next year if construction of the Veterans Plaza
civic building begins. Folks handing out political flyers and paper fans were out in full force. I waved them off.

At 5:15 I went to see some Latin Jazz with the Afro Bop Alliance, featuring Felix Contreras on the congas. The rest of the septet includes a drummer, bass player, piano, and a horn section including saxophone, trumpet and trombone. After buying myself an event t-shirt, it was time to get some dinner.

At 9:00 I returned for the headline act, legendary Jazz/Fusion band Spyro Gyra. I used to have some of their recordings years ago and have never had the opportunity to see them live, so I jumped at the chance. As the event is free and just blocks from my house, how could I turn it down? Although sometimes criticized for their overly pop sound, Spyro Gyra are known for their live performances and last night they did not disappoint. With a setlist that spanned an hour and a half and and some 30 years, they covered everything from classic hits from the 8-track days (anyone else remember those?) to tunes from their latest CD, Wrapped in a Dream (their 25th release).

When the show kicked off the park was packed so I cheated and went up a few levels in the Town Square parking garage, which sits just across Ellsworth from the festival. From there I had a great view and could hear just fine. Towards the end of the show I made my way up near the stage and watched the last couple of songs and the encore. A great show as was the rest of the festival.

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