Jazzin’ It Up

In its 50th year, the Hampton Jazz Festival kicks off this weekend.

Frankie Beverly, of MAZE.

Over the past decades, the annual Hampton Jazz Festival has established a national reputation for drawing top jazz and rhythm ‘n blues talent to the Hampton Coliseum. This year, the 50th anniversary event that starts its three-day run on Friday, will feel like a family reunion with stars like Maze featuring Frankie Beverly returning to play the festival one more time.

With vocalist Charlie Wilson, Friday’s show features one of the most iconic headliners in the business today. Since he left the Gap Band, Wilson has had an unprecedented string of hits spanning over a decade. Newcomers to the Festival this year include Grammy award winning jazz vocalist and member of the Blue Note Records family Gregory Porter and singer-songwriter  Jazmine Sullivan from Philadelphia. Hampton’s own group Kustom Made rounds out the festival’s opening night.

On Saturday, Frankie Beverly and his group Maze, a Hampton Jazz Festival favorite, return and with hits like “Happy Feelin’s”, “While I’m Alone” and “Lady of Magic” surely will bring the venue to a boil. The legendary 1990s vocal group Boyz II Men add a dose of new jack swing to the line-up; additional groups include Avery*Sunshine and Lakeside.

Lalah Hathaway

Saxophonist and smooth jazz icon Kenny G. returns Sunday, and Xscap3 offer a mix of their 90s classics in addition to showcasing new material. Lalah Hathaway, daughter of soul legend Donny Hathaway, makes her first appearance at the festival, and 1970s Funk group Con Funk Shun will close the night.

The Hampton Jazz Festival, which started in 1968, found its home at the Hampton Coliseum 1970 in 1970s as a collaboration between the city of Hampton and Hampton University.  Ticket prices start at $76 per day. HamptonJazzFestival.com


For more great vibes, be sure to check out our guide to Summer Music Festivals 2018.

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