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DC Jazz Festival Announces Call for Applications

Jazzed Magazine • News • December 14, 2016

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The DC Jazz Festival® (DC JazzFest) announces a Call for Applications for its national jazz band competition, DCJazzPrix,live at Prospective applicants will find guidelines, including eligibility, review criteria, terms, and digital submission requirements for the application, which will close on March 4, 2017 at 5 pm ET. The entry fee is $49 per band.

The DCJazzPrix’s mission is to provide a unique professional performance and adjudication platform for emerging jazz bands that is outside of the traditional academic or commercial competition arenas. The competition, launched in December 2015, strives to provide an opportunity for applicants that most competitively demonstrate artistic excellence; the winning band stands to achieve substantial gains in professional development.

“The DCJazzPrix is unique in that it recognizes bands over soloists, with the goal of promoting the careers of emerging jazz artists committed to the creative and professional development of their excellent bands,” said Sunny Sumter, DC Jazz Festival Executive Director. “The event is designed to help launch and promote the careers of emerging jazz artists committed to sustained and creative band development and performance opportunities.”

The New Century Jazz Quintet (NCJQ) won the inaugural DCJazzPrix™ and were selected following a competitive final during the 2016 DC JazzFest at Events DC Presents: DCJazzFest at The Yards.  Based in New York City, NCJQ is a quintet co-led by pianistTakeshi Ohbayashi and drummer Ulysses Owens Jr. NCJQ competed in the finals against two exceptional fellow finalists – the New York City-based Cowboys and Frenchmen, and Washington, DC’s Mark G. Meadows and The Movement.

“We are thankful to have won the DCJazzPrix competition, as the prize money has been incredibly helpful to the band, supplementing travel and fees for upcoming gigs” said NCJQ’s Owens, speaking for the inaugural DCJazzPrix winners. “We are also appreciative to the DC Jazz Festival staff for their assistance with our new website which will be incredibly helpful to furthering the agenda of New Century Jazz Quintet which is to continue sharing our music with the world. We look forward to culminating this win with our performances at the DC Jazz Festival in June 2017.”

Among the criteria for applying is that bands must be comprised of 2-9 members, currently residing in the United States or its territories. Each band member must be at least 18 years of age, but not older than 40. Additionally:

Bands can combine any instrumentation including conventional jazz strings and winds formats and/or percussion, voice, and technology.

Applicant bands may be affiliated or housed within music school departments, or be categorized as “stand-alone/self-contained” and/or professionally emerging. 

Each member is required to compete in Washington, DC on June 15, 2017 on a festival stage should the band be chosen as a semi-finalist.

The DCJazzPrix competition offers a tremendous exposure opportunity for young bands to perform on a national festival stage. The winner will also be awarded a $15,000 cash prize and a year-long association with the DC Jazz Festival to include: publicity; business support and career development services; and a main stage 2018 DC Jazz Festival paid engagement.

Once the application process closes in March, a prestigious jury will evaluate eligible applicants based on professionalism, artistic excellence and artistic merit.

On April 18, 2017, three semi-finalists will be announced and invited to Washington, DC to participate in the DCJazzPrix Finals, in front of a live audience during the 2017 DC Jazz Festival, with the winner announced later that evening.

The fastest-growing jazz festival in the U.S., the 2017 DC Jazz Festival returns in June 2017, with dates and venues to be announced this month.For more information about the DC Jazz Festival, please visit

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