Virtual Clifford Brown Jazz Festival kicks off on Wednesday


The 33rd Annual Clifford Brown Jazz Festival kicked off on Wednesday night.

The festival began with a pre-festival event tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. highlighting The Boysie Lowery Living Jazz Residency Program. The residency, formerly a Light Up the Queen Foundation project, will become a Cityfest youth arts education program in 2021.

Because of COVID-19, this year’s musical event is being staged as the first virtual jazz festival in city history. The 2020 jazz festival performances will be live-streamed from a local music studio on Wednesday, June 24 through Saturday, June 27, with sets beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

blankPhiladelphia’s WRTI 90.1 FM will carry the festival live on its website, as will WITN Channel 22.

The festival will also be streamed on City of Wilmington’s Facebook page and on YouTube. Wilmington Brew Works, at 3929 Miller Road, and Wilmington Curbside will host jazz festival viewing parties for patrons.

This year’s festival is comprised of 15 groups featuring 80 local and regional artists. A list of performers is included at the end of this news release.

“Everyone throughout the city and the world will now have the opportunity to enjoy Wilmington’s iconic music event which, for years, has proudly been billed as the largest FREE jazz festival on the East Coast,” said Mayor Purzycki. “The pandemic will not interrupt a city institution or the talents of scores of musicians, many of them local music icons. Tina and I are very excited, and we hope you enjoy the festival.”

The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival is an annual tribute to the late jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown, who was born in 1930 on the east side of the city.

Also known as ‘Brownie,’ he died in 1956 at the age of 25 in a car accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, leaving behind only a few years’ worth of recordings.

However, Brown’s short life has had a considerable influence on later jazz musicians such as Arturo Sandoval, Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan, Booker Little, and Freddie Hubbard. Several of Brown’s compositions, including “Joy Spring” and “Daahoud” have become jazz standards.

Mayor Purzycki and Director Betz thanked the festival’s planning committee and production team, which includes Raye Jones Avery, Jonathan Whitney, and Gerald Chavis.

In addition to WRTI 90.1 FM and Wilmington Brew Works, supporters included Delmarva Power, An Exelon Company, Shoprite and the Kenny Family Foundation, Ken-Del Studios, the Delaware Art Museum, Christina Cultural Arts Center, Light Action Productions, The Grand, WhyFly, Wilmington City Council’s WITN Channel 22, and Jam 24/7.

Also contributing to the festival were Curbside Wilmington partners, which include Downtown Visions, The Committee of 100, Chase Bank, and Colonial Parking.

The virtual festival is FREE to enjoy, but donations to Cityfest, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit, are encouraged. Donations can be made on www. A portion of the donations will be used to establish a COVID-19 Relief Fund to help our local musicians affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, June 24
7 p.m. – Pre-Festival event featuring the Boysie Lowery Living Jazz Residency Program and graduates

Thursday, June 25,
7 p.m.–Arturo Stable Quartet
8:10 p.m. – Sharon Sable Quintet
9:20 p.m. – Cintron

Friday, June 26
7 p.m. – Gerald Chavis Quintet
8:05 p.m. – Mike Boone Quartet
9:10 p.m. – Barbara Walker
10:15 p.m. – Jonathan Barber & Vision Ahead

Saturday, June 27, 2020
3 p.m. – Vertical Current
4:05 p.m. – “Voices for Healing” with Raye Jones Avery
4:55 p.m. – Terra Soul Project
6 p.m. – Dennis Fortune
7:05 p.m. – The Whitney Project
8:10 p.m. – Korey Riker Band

9:15 p.m. – Fostina Dixon & the Winds of Change
10:30 p.m. – Jeff Bradshaw Band

For more information about the jazz festival, visit

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