The 35th annual Norfolk Jazz Festival July 15-16 was billed as a “waterfront” event, but for the third straight year, inclement weather forced the event inside to the Scope.
Nevertheless, new jazz melodies and favorite old school hits from some of the nation’s top performers made up for any disappointment fest goers may have felt. The air-conditioned Scope building proved to be a welcome substitute for the 100 plus heat index outside, not to mention Friday night’s thunderstorm and rain.
The turn-out for the 2017 festival appeared to top some previous years, with the Scope floor and surrounding bleachers approaching capacity. That was most likely because of the outstanding line-up that displayed the talent of some of today’s most popular jazz men, including Saturday night’s legendary performers – Roy Ayers, Ronnie Laws, Tom Browne, and Lonnie Liston Smith. They were preceded by Euge Groove and Spyro Gyra, whose performances had jazz lovers on the floor.
On Friday night, Pieces of a Dream opened the weekend event, giving jazz lovers a trip down memory lane up to the present. Najee and the Rippingtons kept the excitement going.
Already plans for the 36th Norfolk Jazz Festival are being made to match or top this year’s line-up. But many fest-goers agreed planners at Fest Events have their work cut out to make that happen.