By Alicia Venter
Jamaica will be host to a celebration of Jazz culture next weekend (May 19 – May 20), thanks to the Downtown Jamaica Jazz Festival.
The flagship event of the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL) will begin with an opening reception and performances at 6:30 p.m. at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center (153-10 Jamaica Ave.). Saturday’s full day of performances, set from 12 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., is being moved across the street to the Rufus King Park this year due to an increase in popularity, JCAL shared. The performances for the fourth annual festival will be free for all.
- Musician and tap dancer Michela Marino Lerman (May 19)
- Jazz drummer and Grammy nominated Johnathan Blake (May 19)
- Jazz and contemporary pianist Dabin Ryu (May 20)
- Vibraphonist Patrici Brennan (May 20)
- Drummer, Latin Grammy Award winner and Southeast Queens local Marcus Gilmore (May 20)
- Grammy nominated Saxophonist Jaleel Shaw (May 20)
- Grammy nominated Percussionist Pedrito Martinez (May 20)
RSVP’s are encouraged — visit jcal.org for more information.
The Downtown Jamaica Jazz Festival is a celebration of jazz heritage in Southeast Queens, and JCAL looks to promote generations of talent from the diverse cultures residing in the Jamaica community.
According to JCAL, the festival provides a platform to emerging performers, citing how the opener of the 2021 festival — Samara Joy — won the Best Jazz Vocal Album and Best New Artists at the 2023 Grammy awards.