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DC Jazz Festival Announces DCJazzPrix Finalists

Frank Hammel • News • June 24, 2021

The annual competition enters its seventh year of recognizing and supporting top rising jazz band talent from around the globe

WASHINGTON D.C. – June 24, 2021 — The DC Jazz Festival® (DCJF) today announced the three bands selected as the 2021 DCJazzPrix Finalists, all of whom will perform Sunday, September 5, 2021 during the DCJazzPrix Finals at Union Stage, part of the 17th Annual DC JazzFest. Tickets will be available for purchase starting Friday, June 25th for $15 in advance and for $20 the day-of-show, with standing and seated general admission on a first-come-first-serve basis. The band finalists are the Giveton Gelin Quintet, Camilla George, and Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé.  

 Giveton Gelin Quintet: Since age 10, Giveton Gelin taught himself to play the trumpet simply by emulating his favorite records.  After years of self-tutelage, bassist Adrian D’Aguila began to mentor him, providing Giveton the tools to play jazz. Later on, Nassau, Bahamas-born trumpeter would study with Dr. Eddie Henderson at the Oberlin Conservatory. That same year, he received recognition at the Young Arts Foundation, and was selected for the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program. Thereafter, he continued his studies at the Juilliard School– expecting to graduate in 2021. In the span of three years, Gelin has played with some of the leaders of the NY jazz scene, including Curtis Lundy, Bobby Watson, Roy Hargrove, Sullivan Fortner, Wynton Marsalis, Ben Wolfe, and Jon Batiste. Additionally, the 21-year-old trumpeter has received tutelage from some of the world’s greatest, including Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Ralph Peterson, and Giveton was a protege of the late, Roy Hargrove. Giveton was awarded the 2020 LetterOne Rising Star Jazz Award, and ASCAP’s Herb Alpert Award. Ultimately, Gelin’s artistic vision is to pay tribute to the ancestors, and unify others by incorporating universal human experiences into sound. Through his quintet, the young trumpeter brings forth a new narrative to jazz music. The group includes pianist Micah Thomas, bassist Phillip Norris, drummer Kyle Benford, and 2021 DCJF LetterOne Rising Star artist Immanuel Wilkins on alto saxophone.

 Camilla George:  An alto saxophonist born in Eket, Nigeria, Camilla has been interested in music from an early age and particularly in the fusion of African and Western musics. She grew up listening to Nigerian legend Fela alongside alto sax masters Jackie McLean and Charlie Parker. She began playing the saxophone when she was 11 years old upon winning a music contest and won saxophone lessons. Camilla went on to study with many jazz greats such as saxophonist, Jean Toussaint (of Art Blakey Jazz Messengers fame), Julian Siegal, and Martin Speake at Trinity College of Music where she gained a master’s in jazz performance. In 2014 Camilla formed her own critically acclaimed project showcasing the stars of the new UK Jazz Scene. Dubbed “The Golden Girl of Jazz” by The Evening Standard, Camilla’s debut album, ‘Isang’ (pronounced E-SANG which means journey in Ibibio her native language) received huge critical acclaim. Her follow up album, “The People Could Fly” which was released in September 2018, featuring special guest Omar as well as in-demand guitarist of the moment, Shirley Tetteh, has already garnered substantial critical acclaim with 4 star reviews from the Financial Times and Jazzwise magazine to name a few. The album and Camilla have been featured on several key playlists such as State of Jazz, and Camilla is the poster girl for Tidal’s British Jazz playlist.  Camilla’s love of fusing African and Western musics to make her own unique style is a key reason why she is a firm fixture on the new London Jazz scene alongside peers such as Nubya Garcia, Shabaka Hutchings and Zara McFarlane. Her music is a hypnotizing blend of Afrofuturism, hip hop and jazz. Camilla’s music is politically minded, reflecting African history and slavery in particular. Her band consists of pianist Sarah Tandy, guitarist Shirley Tetteh, bassist Daniel Casimir and DC-native Rod Youngs on drums. 

 Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé: Dayramir González & Habana enTRANCé is a project developed in 2004 in Havana, Cuba,with a mission of bringing Afro-Cuban jazz to the forefront of popular music by crafting music that is intellectual, yet accessible. This project is a dynamic force of piano, bass, drums, percussion, with one central goal: to create an engaging and unforgettable musical experience. Habana enTRANCé’s leader and visionary is pianist Dayramir Gonzalez, a showman who lives for the audience, an internationally lauded pianist and composer that has been hailed for his “monster technique” and prolific creativity, a range which melds rock, classical, jazz and Afro-Cuban stylings. 

 DCJazzPrix, an international competition created to recognize and support top emerging jazz band talent, was launched in 2016 and since then has received a rapidly growing and diverse applicant response. The Jury considered a highly competitive pool of applicants and evaluated these gifted, emerging bands on their artistic quality and merit when selecting the finalists. 

 Each band will receive benefits associated with a major jazz festival performance opportunity, and the finalists will compete live during the DCJazzPrix Finals at the DC JazzFest at The Wharf. Audience response will be a factor in the Jury’s determination of the winner. Aside from gaining significant exposure, the winning band will begin a yearlong association with the DC Jazz Festival to include: a $15,000 grand prize, customized business development and career impact services, extensive publicity training, and a highly visible 2022 DC JazzFest engagement with commensurate compensation.

 “The interaction of musicians in a band context is at the core of the jazz aesthetic. It is exciting to help ‘discover’ and promote the careers of emerging jazz artists committed to the creative and professional development of their excellent bands,” said DC Jazz Festival President and CEO Sunny Sumter. “DCJazzPrix is unique in that it recognizes bands over soloists. It allows jazz artists to concentrate on band development on multiple fronts, increase performance opportunities, and sustain their collective output.”

 Tickets will be available for purchase starting Friday, June 25th and more information about attending the event can be found at dcjazzfest.org/dcjazzprix. For press inquiries or requests for information, contact Lydia Liebman, DCJF publicist, at lydia@lydialiebmanpromotions.com

 Learn more about the DC Jazz Festival and all of our programs by visiting dcjazzfest.org.

The DCJazzPrix program is made possible by the generous support of The Leonard and Elaine Silverstein Family Foundation. The DCJazzPrix prize is made possible by the generous support of Conrad Kenley, and the Galena-Yorktown Foundation.

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