Grammy-winning neo-soul artist Lauryn Hill is among more than 30 regional, national and international performers set to appear at the sixth annual Richmnod Jazz Festival at Maymont. (Photo courtesy The Agency Group)
Dozens of artists, throngs of fans, three different stages — the Richmond Jazz Festival, despite its name, is far from all that jazz. Now in its sixth year, the event from Aug. 6 to 9 will bring to town a diverse collection of acclaimed acts, among them neo-soul artist Lauryn Hill, R&B/soul singer Macy Gray and pop group New Edition, along with jazz favorites like saxophonist Joshua Redman and pianist Aaron Parks. The lineup for the festival features more than 30 regional, national and international performers.
Hill, who arrives at the close of an international tour, is an eight-time Grammy winner. The New Jersey native is best known for her work as front woman for The Fugees in the mid-1990s and for her widely acclaimed 1998 solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. (Photo courtesy The Agency Group)
Hill, who arrives at the close of an international tour, is an eight-time Grammy winner. The New Jersey native is best known for her work as front woman for The Fugees in the mid-1990s and for her widely acclaimed 1998 solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. After more than a decade in which she was largely out of the public eye, Hill has been earning praise for her recent performances, and for her contributions to the album Nina Revisited: A Tribute to Nina Simone, which she co-produced (it accompanies a new Netflix documentary.)
Redman, a two-time Grammy-nominated sax player, has been touring with The Bad Plus, a Minneapolis jazz trio who invited him to contribute his quick and easy-going style to their inventive new album, The Bad Plus Joshua Redman.
Also on the roster this year are R&B and pop singer Natalie Cole, saxophonist David Sanborn, Kirk Whalum (a saxophonist who toured with Whitney Houston and played on her hit single “I Will Always Love You”) and Sweet Honey in the Rock, an all-female a cappella group known for five-part harmonies and for incorporating sign language and dance in its performances. The group, which began in Washington, D.C., in 1973, celebrated four decades together last year with a “Forty and Fierce” tour highlighting its 20-plus members over the years.
Jasmine Roberts, senior director of client services for the Richmond Jazz Festival, says 12,000 to 15,000 people are expected this year, up from 10,000 last year. “It grows each year as we work to find a diverse set of performers,” she says.
The festival starts Thursday, Aug. 6, with two free events: The Jazz Café at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Jazz at Hardywood, followed on Aug. 7 by Homegrown at the HIPP (Jackson Ward’s Hippodrome Theater), with tickets at $30. On Saturday and Sunday, the festival moves to Maymont, where gates open at 11 a.m. Tickets are $85 per day, or $160 for both days. jazzatmaymont.com.