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Updated: Dec 13, 2022

February 2-4 2023, Wilmington, NC, will welcome back jazz lovers to the 43rd North Carolina Jazz Festival at the Hotel Ballast.

“We are excited to be back LIVE on stage at the Hotel Ballast. The hotel (starting when it was called the Hilton Hotel) has been our musical home since 1980, so we are happy to be "back home" after two interesting "pandemic years," says Sandy Evans, President of the NC Jazz Festival.

The festival was started in 1980 by Dr. Harry VanVelsor, a local dermatologist, and consummate jazz lover. Harry’s devotion to Dixieland and Traditional style jazz greatly influenced the structure of this new event in Wilmington. Over the years the greatest of traditional jazz artists have brought their musical talents to be a part of this festival.

Names like Art Hodes, Milt Hinton, Kenny Davern, Keter Betts, Bobby Rosengarden, Tony DiNicola, and Johnny Frigo are among the late greats who have passed this way.

In recent years the festival has hosted an array of talents from around the world—Dick Hyman, Bucky Pizzarelli, Ed Polcer, Houston Person, Wycliffe Gordon, Duke Heitger and Ken Peplowski, to name just a few.

“Some of the highlights for 2023 will be the Thursday night Special Event. Performers will showcase different styles of jazz. Steve Washington, a vocalist from the D.C. area, will remind the audience of the great Nat King Cole and Billy Ekstine, but with a style of his own. Lenore Raphael, a fantastic pianist, with a style similar to Marian McPartland, will be joined by vibist Steve Hobbs, who is from the Raleigh area. Then guitarist Nate Najar will be doing a tribute to Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz' introduction of Brazilian Samba to the U.S. 60 years ago. Brazilian singer Daniele Soledade and sax player Jeff Rupert will be joining him in this presentation. That evening will end with Adrian Cunningham leading some of our weekend All-Stars in a set of Traditional Jazz,” says Evans.

“Friday and Saturday nights will feature 15 All-Star Musicians in 7 sets - each set with a different leader. You will not hear the same song twice!,” says Evans. “This is a JAZZ-PACKED weekend. Thursday night's event will be for 3 1/2 hours andFriday and Saturday's will be for 4 1/2 hours each. There is also a Jazz brunch on Saturday morning for our Patrons. Any patrons who are also musicians will have the opportunity to "sit in" with our All-Star musicians.”

HOTEL BALLAST is home of the North Carolina Jazz Festival @ Wilmington. Special room rates for festival goers will be $129.00 per night. Reservations must be made by December 31st, 2021 to receive this rate.

Purchase Tickets to the 43rd North Carolina Jazz Festival Here.


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