Route 175 jazz festival gets under way tomorrow

Route 175, downtown Columbia's main thoroughfare, will be the gateway for a four-day jazz festival that starts tomorrow. The Maryland Museum of African Art Jazz Club will present the Baltimore-Washington Jazzfest over four days through Sunday at nine predominantly west Columbia venues. Organizers are calling it "Jazz is Alive on Route 175."

Some like their jazz hot and others like it cool, but festival organizers say the music will cater to all kinds of tastes -- from swing, to be-bop to contemporary jazz.


All of the acts will perform within earshot of Route 175 at locations such as Howard Community College, The Mall and the Maryland Museum of African Art.

"The purpose of the festival is to celebrate the roots of jazz in traditional African music," said Carole A. Ligon, events coordinator at the museum, at the historic Oakland manor in Town Center.


Proceeds from this four-day festival will benefit the museum's building fund. The museum expects to break ground on its own building by 2000, Ligon said. The site has not been determined, but it will be in Columbia, she said.

The level of talent at the festival ranges from headliner saxophonists Stanley Turrentine and Antonio Hart to the Glenelg High School Jazz Ensemble, which travels abroad this summer to perform in the Netherlands and Switzerland.

For the last 50 years, Turrentine has played with top-level jazz musicians including Max Roach, Freddie Hubbard and Herbie Hancock. His only formal musical training came from three years in the 158th Army Band.

Baltimore native Hart is a student of the practical and academic parts of jazz. He is a graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts and the Berklee College of Music.

"Some cats just play and sound good. He's always trying to learn more about his craft," said festival production coordinator John Lee.

Other performers include vocalists Saisa, Donna Byrne and Vanessa Rubin as well as saxophonist Antonio Parker and vibraphonist Terry Gibbs.

Like the level of talent, the prices at the festival range from $45 to hear Turrentine or Hart to free acts at The Mall and the Lakefront Amphitheater. Organizers are offering package plans to all performances for $130.

The four-day festival ends with a jazz roots discussion by Professor Yusef Ali of Rutgers University.


"At the end of the weekend we're celebrating the reason for the weekend, which is the influence of African music on jazz," Ligon said.

The Maryland Museum of African Art's jazz programs started two years ago as one-day festivals held twice a year at Oakland manor.

Though Route 175 is not exactly Bourbon Street, the demand for jazz created a need for more performances beyond one-day affairs. "So we went from four hours to four days," Ligon said.


May 16, 8 p.m.: Antonio Parker and Saisa at Silver Shadows Night Club, $15.

May 17, 2 p.m.: Antonio Hart for a jazz master class at Howard Community College, free.


6 p.m.: Glenelg Jazz Ensemble, HCC Jazz Ensemble at The Mall, free.

8 p.m.: Stanley Turrentine and Donna Byrne at the Columbia Inn, $45.

May 18, noon: Wine in the Woods at Symphony Woods, $13.

7 p.m.: U.S. Navy Commodores at the Lakefront Amphitheater, free.

8 p.m.: Antonio Hart and Vanessa Rubin at Hilton Inn Columbia, $45.

May 19, 11 a.m.: Terry Gibbs at Toby's Dinner Theatre, $40.


2 p.m.: Yusef Ali at Maryland Museum of African Art, $5.

Information: 730-7105.

Pub Date: 5/15/96