The Festival Roundup February 2024


Wilmington gives a warm welcome to all of the jazz lovers attending our 43rd North Carolina Jazz Festival. NCJF will fill your evenings with exciting performances by some of the greatest traditional jazz musicians from around the globe. All evening concerts begin at 7:30 pm and held at the Hotel Ballast ballroom.

Thursday night, our Special Event night, is when we feature different styles of jazz. This year we will open with The Port City Trio, a Wilmington based group that is well known in the area for the Jewell Family’s tradition of playing jazz, blues and pop styles of music. Our main event for the evening will be The Emmet Cohen Trio. The evening’s music will come to a close with some of our weekend All-Stars in a Traditional Jazz Jam.

Hot Jazz Jubile

Friday and Saturday Nights we will continue our celebration with 15 All-Star musicians playing in the traditional seven sets of six or seven players, each set with a different leader. You will see/hear many of our favorite NCJF musicians plus new additions to our lineup. Invited musicians include: Adrian Cunningham, Alvin Atkinson, Bruce Harris, Chuck Redd, Dion Tucker, Herman Burney, Jonathan Russell, Ken Peplowski, Lucy Yeghiazaryan, Nate Najar, and Rossano Sportiello.

Patron Brunch: On Saturday from 10:30 until 2 pm we treat our patrons to a musical brunch, when all of our All-star musicians play for their pleasure while everyone enjoys a delicious brunch. During the last hour we have a “jam” when the patrons who are musicians have the opportunity to play with the All-stars. Fun for all!

For more information visit, call 910-399-6536 or email [email protected].


SOUNDS OF MARDI GRAS (Fresno, CA) – Feb. 8-11

The 40th edition of the Sounds of Mardi Gras in Fresno kicks off at the Doubletree by Hilton with a Thursday evening pre-party. The schedule picks up Friday with a themed parade, followed by the annual coronation of the Festival King and Queen, a Friday night swing dance, and a Saturday Night Mardi Gras Dance Party. Festivities include a Parasol Parade and Masquerade and Costume Parade in the grand tradition of Mardi Gras. This year one parade has an “Cruising to Carnaval Ports” theme.

Invited bands for 2024 include: Alpha Rhythm Kings, Groovus, Black Market Trust, Gino and the Lone Gunmen, Dave Stuckey and the Hot House Gang, Tom Rigney and Flambeau, Gator Nation Collaboration, We 3 + 1, Bob Schulz Frisco Jazz Band, Yosemite Jazz Band, CJ’s Open jams, Reedley River Rats, and Jan Sutherland.

Special festival room rates at the Fresno Double Tree by Hilton are available. For more information you can call Linda (209) 534-1924 or visit

TEAGARDEN JAZZ FESTIVAL for Young Musicians (Sacramento, CA) Feb. 10

The joy of New Orleans-style jazz is at the heart of this scholastic combo festival, which is dedicated to fostering a better appreciation of this classic American art form. Each year, scores of young musicians gather at the annual Teagarden Jazz Festival (formerly named Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival) for experiences that take their musical skills to the next level. Don’t miss the Closing Concert featuring the Teagarden Jazz Festival All-Star Clinicians Band with guest artist Adrian Cunningham.

General admission to the Jazz Festival for the public is $15 (students are admitted at no charge) and is valid all day. Tickets will be sold onsite. For band registration and tickets, call Patricia Jones at the SacJEF office: (916) 571-5533 or email: [email protected]; write PO Box 661763, Sacramento 95866; or visit the festival website:



The 18th Annual Charles H. Templeton Ragtime and Jazz Festival & the Gatsby Gala will be held at the Mississippi State University campus at Starkville from Thursday, February 22nd through Saturday, February 24th. The Templeton Festival is the only one of its kind in the southeast that brings world-renowned artists and entertainers to campus to perform throughout the weekend, sharing their insights and love of ragtime, jazz, and blues music. Scheduled musicians include Louis Ford, Neville Dickie, and The Sweet & Hot Quartet (Jeff Barnhart, Anne Barnhart, T.J. Müller and Josh Duffee). The business of music in the ragtime era will be the focus of multi-media lectures. For more information visit

SAN DIEGO JAZZ PARTY (Del Mar, CA) Feb. 23-25, 2024

The 32nd annual San Diego Jazz Party is set to take place in Del Mar, Calif., 20 miles north of San Diego.

Performers at the 2024 Jazz Party will be Dan BarrettDanny Coots, Duke  Heitger, Evan ArntzenKen PeplowskiJohn AllredJon-Erik Kellso, Houston Person, Lisa Booth, Vinny Raniolo, Harry AllenChuck ReddRichard Simon, Peter Washington, Rossano Sportiello, Jason Wanner, Josh Collazo, Lizzy (of the Triggermen), Sam Rocha, and Yve Evans.


Purchase passes on or order by telephone (619) 787-8792; or write San Diego Jazz Party, 1632 Hillstone Avenue, Escondido, CA 92029-4332.

42nd annual JAZZ BASH BY THE BAY (Monterey, CA) March 1-3, 2024

The 42nd annual Jazz Bash By the Bay Monterey takes place March 3-5, 2023, in the beautiful Conference Center and Portola Hotel & Spa with eight venues.

Invited bands for 2024 include: Blue Stree, Brass Nickels, Bye Bye Blues Boys Band, Carl Sonny Leyland Trio, Chris Bradley and Friends, Crescent Katz, Dawn Lambeth Sextet, Ivory and Gold, Pacific Brass, Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, San Lyon, Seattle Trad, Tom Hook and the Terrier Bros., Tom Rigney and Flambeau, Warehouse Reunion, Holland Coots Jazz Quintet, Groovus, Sweet and Hot Quartet, El Dorado Jazz Band, and the Yve Evans Trio.


Artists include: Paolo Alderighi, Clint Baker, Riley Baker, Jeff Barnhart, Dan Barrett, Dave Bennett, Marc Caporone, Katie Cavera, Danny Coots, Ryan Daniele, Bob Draga, Josh Duffee, Eddie Erickson, Brian Holland, TJ Muller, John Otto, Steve Pikal, Andy Schum, Hal Smith, Dave Stuckey, and Stephanie Trick.

Badges can be ordered by phone at 831-754-8786 or 888-349-6879. More information online at; Jazz Bash by the Bay, 177 Webster St., #206, Monterey, CA 93940.

JAZZ PENSACOLA JAZZFEST (Pensacola, FL) – April 6-7

The 41st Annual Pensacola JazzFest will be April 6-7, 2024, at Seville Square in historic downtown Pensacola. The schedule and headliners will be announced soon.

As always, JazzFest is a free and celebrates America’s unique musical art form, jazz. The event is produced with assistance from a variety of corporate sponsors and community organizations. Jazz Pensacola volunteers also work yearlong to present Pensacola JazzFest as their annual gift to the community. We sincerely thank our individual and corporate donors for their essential support.

With its beautiful live oaks and historic surroundings, Seville Square and the gazebo stage offer a perfect springtime setting for Pensacola JazzFest.

In addition to a great music lineup, food by Vendors, wine/beer, soft drinks, arts and crafts and jazz merchandise are available—including JazzFest posters and a variety of jazzy shirts and memorabilia. All jazz merchandise sales help support the festival and keep it free for loyal fans.

FRENCH QUARTER FESTIVAL (New Orleans, LA) – April 11-14

More than 20 stages throughout the French Quarter celebrate local music and represent every genre from traditional and contemporary jazz to R&B, New Orleans funk, brass bands, folk, gospel, Latin, Zydeco, classical, cabaret, and international. Traditional jazz fans will find nearly every artist of interest to them currently active in the city and discover new favorites.

New Orleans restaurants serve food and beverages in Jackson Square, the Jazz Museum at the Mint, JAX Brewery, and Woldenberg Riverfront Park during French Quarter Festival weekend. The French Quarter Festival has been consistently voted “favorite festival,” “favorite food festival,” and “favorite event open to the public” by locals. Schedule and map available at

JAZZAFFAIR (Three Rivers, CA) April 12-14

The 49th annual Jazzaffair, hosted by the Sierra Traditional Jazz Club, takes place at three venues in Three Rivers: the Lions Club Arena, the Memorial Building, and St. Anthony’s Retreat.

Bands will include the Sierra Stompers, the Blue Street Jazz Band, Gino and the Lone Gunmen, Dave Bennett Quartet, Carl Sonny Leyland’s Boogie Woogie Boys, Tom Rigney and Flambeau, St. John’s Riverboat Jazz Band, Katie Cavera and the Lost Boys, Holland & Coots Quintet, and introducing Nathan Tokunaga Fearless Five.

Visit the Sierra Traditional Jazz Club online and download the order form: S.T.J.C., PO Box 712, Three Rivers, CA 93271. Call or text Jazzaffair Director: Linda McKee Amaral at (559) 303-5193

ZEHNDER’S RAGTIME FESTIVAL (Frankenmuth, MI) – April 24-26

Zehnder’s Annual Ragtime Festival featuring the pride of Michigan, pianist Bob Milne, will be staged at Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth, 730 S. Main St., in the colorful city nicknamed Little Bavaria. Also called “Muth” for short, the city is located in Saginaw County, in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, about 22 miles south of Lake Huron. Events include Lunch Concerts on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Vaudeville Night on Thursday, and Friday Night Festival Grand Finale.

By the way, Zehnder’s serves a world-famous chicken dinner along with tantalizing breads and pastries. Performers for 2024 included Bob Milne along with Jeff and Anne Barnhart, Bill Edwards, Terry Parrish, Andrew Ratajczak, Dave Majchrzak, and Bill Edwards.

Ticket prices for individual events range from $34 to $70. Reservations are required for lunch, brunch, and all dinner concerts. For more info or reservations call (844) 288-1484; or visit


Every year over Memorial Day weekend in Oxford, Mississippi, the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest is held to provide an opportunity for pianists to compete and learn in a stimulating atmosphere and to educate people about old-time piano music written prior to 1940.

Through the years, the contest has provided more than $60,000 in prize money to more than 500 piano players from across the United States and from five foreign countries. Players in 2020 will compete in three divisions—Regular, Junior & Senior—as they vie for over $6,000 plus trophies—as well as the New Rag Contest, where aspiring composers present their original tunes.

A variety of other activities include workshops, guest artist performances, silent movies, an old-time sing-along, a double-decker bus tour of historic Oxford, and after-hours events every night on the Oxford Square.

For more information, write: Old Time Piano Contest, 350 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; [email protected]; telephone 662-801-2251;


The 50th anniversary edition of the Scott Joplin Fest promises to be the best ever! For information, please visit

EVERGREEN JAZZ FESTIVAL (Evergreen, CO) – July 26-28

The 2ist Evergreen Jazz Festival is set for July 26, 27, and 28. Known for its beautiful Rocky Mountain setting and up-close-and-personal atmosphere, the event will feature five intimate venues, each offering a unique listening experience. Invited bands currently include After Midnight, Carl Sonny Leyland Trio, Hot Tomatoes Dance Orchestra, Holland-Coots Jazz Quintet, Queen City Jazz Band with Wende Harston, and Double 88. Dancers are welcome at all venues! For details and tickets, visit or call 303-697-5467.


Hot Jazz will return to the Upper Mississippi River next year during the Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival. On August 2, 2024, there will be even more music aboard the Celebration Belle, with Matt Tolentino’s Iowans playing on the main deck while T.J. Müller’s Jazz-O-Maniacs perform on the upper deck.

The Jazz-O-Maniacs will also perform at the Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival, which takes place August 1-3 at the Rhythm City Casino in Davenport. Groups playing for the first time at the festival are Mike Davis’ New Wonders, Paul Asaro & his Rhythm, and the El Dorado Jazz Band. Festival favorites the Chicago Cellar Boys, Graystone Monarchs, and the Bix Youth Band complete the band lineup.

Scheduled musicians include: Andy Schumm, David Boeddinghaus, Steve Pikal, Jeff Barnhart, Dave Kosmyna, and Natalie Scharf (who was interviewed for the September issue of The Syncopated Times). Also, four musicians will be performing at the Bix Jazz Festival for the first time in 2024: guitarist Jacob Alspach, trombonist Brandon Au, bassist Mikiya Matsuda, percussionist /vocalist Gina DeGregorio, and Grammy nominee/multi-instrumentalist Colin Hancock.
In addition to the sets at the Rhythm City Casino and the Riverboat Cruise, specially-assembled jazz bands will perform at the Putnam Museum in Davenport on Thursday, August 1 and at Bix Beiderbecke’s gravesite on Saturday, August 3.

Check the Bix Jazz Society’s website for updates, to purchase tickets, and for information regarding area lodging:

JAZZ FEST AT SEA (Caribbean) January 17-27, 2025

If you are a fan of Swing, Dixieland, Classic Jazz, Chicago Jazz, Traditional Jazz, in fact just about any style which emerged during the first half of the 20th century, plan to attend JazzFest at Sea – presented in a private jazz club atmosphere limited to 200 guests! Our cruise will be departing roundtrip Miami to St. Kitts, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Thomas, Dominican Republic and Ocean Cay on the MSC Divina for 10-nights of jazz and fun.

Scheduled artists include Allan Vaché – clarinet, Terry Myers – tenor sax, Houston Person – tenor sax, Davy Jones – cornet, Dave Bennett – clarinet, Mike Francis – piano, Kris Tokarski – piano, Jim Fryer – trombone, Jake Jones – guitar & banjo, Jon-Erik Kellso – trumpet, Mark Shane – piano, Danny Coots – drums, Charlie Silva – bass, Paul Keller – bass, Ricky Malichi – drums, with Vocalists Banu Gibson and Yve Evans.

Call us for more information! 1-800-654-8090 or visit

AHOY VINTAGE CRUISES: Matt Tolentino and his Orchestra (Southampton, UK – New York, NY) May 16-23, 2025 / Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra (Southampton, UK – New York, NY) Sept. 26-Oct. 3, 2025

Ahoy Vintage Cruises is celebrating 100 years of Art Deco with two exclusive trans-Atlantic crossings.  We will start off with a few days touring era-influenced sites in Paris, the birthplace of Art Deco in 1925. After a quick jaunt in London, we’ll board the iconic RMS Queen Mary 2 for a seven-night crossing.

Each crossing, departing from Southampton and arriving in New York City, features a renowned orchestra playing Deco-era music for nightly dances.

Enjoy dining, drinking, and dancing your way across the Atlantic in the delightful Deco style. Live your best vintage life for this trip. Is it 1925 or 2025? It’s a dream come true.

Save the Date:

The 36th Elkhart Jazz Fest: June 20-23, 2024

The 21st Rochester Jazz Fest: June 21 – 29, 2024

Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival: August 9-11, 2024

Joe Bebco is the Associate Editor of The Syncopated Times and Webmaster of

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