Jazz vocalists take center stage as DeMiero Jazz Fest returns to Edmonds March 1-3

The Olympic High School jazz singers at the 2016 DeMiero Jazz Festival clinic. (File photo by Larry Vogel)

DeMiero Jazz Fest
March 1-3

When jazz legend Dee Daniels took the artistic director position of the DeMiero Jazz Fest back in 2011, she really had two primary goals in mind.

She wanted to continue to build on the solid growth that local jazz impresario Frank DeMiero had achieved, and to create a living legacy to DeMiero.

DeMiero has been toiling away in the field of music education for over 40 years. The product of Daniels’ and DeMiero’s combined labor and that of many others is a spectacular, three-day jazz extravaganza that will host nearly 70 choirs this year and feature some extraordinary vocal talent.

The Edmonds Center for the Arts will be teeming with busloads of excited young vocalists and musicians during the day, with world-renowned performers headlining the evenings’ shows.

Daniels’ goals may have been achieved, but she continues to refine and improve. “I’m always looking to maintain the quality of guest artists and members of our all-star band, and I’m always searching to find new artists that are not only great performers, but also excellent teachers,“ she said.

With respect to the music education aspect of the festival, “we’re doing something new this year with our ‘Thursday Intensive’ workshops,” Daniels said. “We opened this up on a first-come, first-served basis. This year, 10 choirs will be participating. We offer them twice as much instruction in clinics and performance. They’ll receive much more access by participating in the Thursday Intensive — master classes by the band, the director, all the performers and panels. They’ll just have greater access to all our resources.”

This year‘s festival is shaping up to be terrific. Here are some highlights to look for:

René Marie

René Marie — Featured Artist

A breathtaking stylist, she’s a singer, composer, arranger, theatrical performer and teacher, she has a captivating hybrid style. “I’ve never forgotten the early lessons learned about the power of music,” she said. “Today, I try to imbue that feeling of emotion in every song I write and every song I sing — every time.”

Dee Daniels

Dee Daniels

Daniels’ biography reads like a virtual Who’s Who in the jazz world. She owns several vocal styles  — traditional jazz and blues, soul jazz, soul blues and smooth jazz among them. She possesses an incredible four-octave range. She’s been described as a living legend. As a clinician, she’s been lauded for her motivational style. Dr. Lynn Skinner of the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival said Daniels has the “innate ability to inspire and motivate hundreds of vocal and instrumental students in the role of Dee Daniels — the Teacher.”

Jaidyn Lam

Jaidyn Lam — 2018 Recipient, the Dee Daniels Vocal Jazz Scholarship

This young phenom has already gathered up the best vocalist award at the Reno Jazz Festival (2017) and the outstanding vocalist award at the Pacific Vocal Jazz Festival (2017). Also of local interest, she assumed the role of Driftwood Theatre’s Music Director for their summer music camps. Catch this rising star if you can.

For more information about this fabulous event, visit the DeMiero Jazz Fest website at www.demierojazzfest.org.

Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3 evening performance tickets ($25 students/$35 general) at Edmonds Center for the Arts here.

Thursday, March 1 special concert tickets ($20 each) at the North Sound Center, Edmonds, available at door (201 4th Ave. N.) before the concert.

— By James Spangler

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