EDMONDS — This year’s Virtual DeMiero Jazz Fest has a record number of headlining performers.
The three-day festival, set for March 4-6 for its 45th year, offers jazz workshops for students and concerts by jazz vocalists.
A total of 17 headliners were booked for the virtual performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
“These are the leading lights in the jazz genre, so I’m incredibly excited about the lineup,” said Sara Gazarek, who replaced Dee Daniels as the festival’s artistic director in 2019. “I don’t think I’ve seen a more exciting vocal-focused online festival yet.”
The DeMiero Jazz Fest was founded in 1977. It’s named after Frank DeMiero, who was then director of Edmonds Community College’s jazz choir, Soundsation.
“We knew that DeMiero Jazz Fest needed to happen this year,” Gazarek said. “It’s the festival through which so many young people discover their love of jazz. It would have been such a missed opportunity if we didn’t fight tooth and nail … to keep the music alive during a year like this year.”
Around 20 high school choirs — including those from Bothell, Edmonds-Woodway, Everett, Lake Stevens, Mariner and Meadowdale — have been attending online jazz clinics since October.
“We had weekly video recordings that we released to the choirs that had registered,” said Louise Uriu, president of the festival. “Teachers could log in while they’re having their classes and learn from these world-class musicians and educators. We’re so glad it worked out because we’ve never done it before.”
In addition, each choir also recently attended a one-on-one online workshop with one of the headliners or clinicians from this year’s festival.
More than 200 students have also signed up to perform as the DeMiero Jazz Festival Student Mass Choir this week.
Gazarek, who is a performer this year, said most of the headliners have recorded two videos to be streamed via Looped. Each concert, scheduled for 7 p.m., will feature 11 performances.
“A lot of people behind the scenes put a ton of energy, love and time into making sure that jazz music stays alive and well in the Pacific Northwest,” she said. “I’m grateful they were willing to forge ahead and ensure that young people, even remotely, can participate in music making and continue to feel inspired by and fall in love with this beautiful genre.”
Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046; email@example.com; @sarabruestle.
If you stream
The Edmonds-based Virtual DeMiero Jazz Fest features three performances scheduled for 7 p.m. March 4, 5 and 6 via Looped. Headlining are Soundsation, Jane Monheit, Leonard Patton, Christie Dashiell, Greta Matassa, Camila Meza, Aimee Nolte, Sachal Vasandani, säje, New York Voices, Accent, Sara Gazarek, Gretchen Parlato, Michael Mayo, Vuyo Sotashe, Rene Marie and Kurt Elling. Tickets are $7 per concert or $15 for all three. More at www.demierojazzfest.org.
DeMiero Jazz Fest
The following is the lineup for the 45th DeMiero Jazz Fest:
New York Voices, formed in 1988, is made up of Darmon Meader, Peter Eldridge, Lauren Kinhan and Kim Nazarian. Each has a separate and busy career of his or her own, working as a jazz vocal soloist and educator. New York Voices will perform Thursday and Friday.
Kurt Elling, performing Friday and Saturday, is renowned for his combination of robust swing and poetic insight. His accolades as a jazz singer include a 14-year run atop the DownBeat Critics Poll and a dozen Grammy nominations.
Gretchen Parlato has performed and recorded with musicians such as Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Esperanza Spalding. She will perform Friday and Saturday.
Rene Marie, performing Friday and Saturday, borrows elements of folk, R&B, classical and country to create her own style of jazz. Her career spans two decades and 11 recordings.
Camila Meza is a Chilean vocalist, guitarist and composer. Meza’s jazz is inspired by music from both Americas, spanning many eras and genres. She will perform Thursday and Saturday.
Jane Monheit, who will perform on Thursday only, won a $10,000 scholarship in 1998 to go to Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz to further her musical education. Now she is one of the most highly touted female talents in jazz.
Säje, performing Thursday and Saturday, is a Grammy nominated vocal supergroup featuring Sara Gazarek, Amanda Taylor, Johnaye Kendrick and Erin Bentlage. They bring their voices together to perform an array of original material, jazz standards and contemporary reimaginings.
Leonard Patton studied jazz at the Berklee School of Music in Boston. He has performed and recorded with such artists as Bill Cunliffe, Derek Nievergelt, Duncan Moore, Mitch Manker, Mike Bedard, Ken Dow and Jetro Da Silva. He will perform Thursday and Friday.
Michael Mayo, performing Friday and Saturday, was only the third vocalist to be accepted into the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. He has collaborated or shared the stage with artists including Herbie Hancock and Josh Groban.
Accent is comprised of Danny Fong, Andrew Kesler, Evan Sanders. Simon Akesson, JB Craipeau and James Rose. The a cappella group — all six of them accomplished arrangers and instrumentalists in their own right — are taking their love of close-harmony jazz singing as far as it can go. Accent will perform Friday and Saturday.
Sachal Vasandani will perform Thursday and Saturday. The jazz singer is known for his unique interpretations of jazz standards and instrumental music.
Christie Dashiell, performing Thursday only, honed her skills at Howard University and the Manhattan School of Music. Dashiell has performed at the Kennedy Center and the Lincoln Theater in Washington, D.C., as well as for the Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Vuyo Sotashe, who will perform Friday and Saturday,is a South African jazz vocalist. He was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a master’s in music at William Paterson University in New Jersey. Since then, Sotashe has gone to win first prize at the inaugural Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Vocal Competition in 2014.
Aimee Nolte is a jazz pianist, vocalist and YouTube personality. She knows over 1,000 songs and can play them at the drop of a hat. Nolte earned her jazz piano degree from Brigham Young University in 1998. Nolte launched her YouTube channel, “Aimee Nolte Music,” which now has more than 150,000 subscribers. She will perform Thursday only.
Greta Matassa, performing Thursday and Saturday, has established herself as one of the greatest jazz singers of her time. She was inducted into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame in 2014. Teaching and performing for 20 years, Matassa has recorded 11 albums, including her latest, “Portrait.” She will perform Thursday and Saturday.
Soundsation, Edmonds Community College’s jazz choir, which will perform Thursday, Friday and Saturday, is directed by Kirk Marcy and is comprised of about a dozen vocalists accompanied by piano, guitar, bass and drums.
Sara Gazarek, who will perform Friday only, is a three-time Grammy nominee. Her career has spanned 15 years and included international tours, six albums and top 10 rankings on the Billboard Traditional Jazz Charts for her blend of contemporary and traditional stylings.