Address: 2700 F St NW, , Washington, DC 20566
Latitude/Longitude: 38.896054, -77.054852
Start Date: May 22, 2014
End Date: May 14, 2020
Web site: click here
Phone: (202) 416-8000
The nation’s capital is not often thought of as the cultural capital of the United States, an honorific probably reserved for New York. Or so I thought, until I heard about the Kennedy Center’s free concerts on the Millennium Stage every night at 6:00pm. Every big city has free art; Kansas City – my hometown – takes pride of hosting Shakespeare in the Park and allowing free access to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. So when I was first told about the Millennium events, I thought to myself, “Oh great, now I can go see University of Maryland’s men’s chorus sing patriotic hymns. Horray.” But when I checked the schedule I was blown away, because that weekend two of my favorite jazz musicians (Derrick Hodge and Brian Blade) were both performing.
Granted, I am a nerd about jazz. I’ve been following new artists since I was fourteen and have seen Brian Blade live before. In my opinion, he and Chris Dave are tied for the best drummer in jazz today. Blade has performed with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Brad Mehldau, Joshua Redman; the list of world-class jazz musicians with whom he has shared a stage goes on for about six pages. He is also the drummer on my favorite jazz album of all time: Herbie Hancock’s Directions in Music (Verve 2002). So when I saw that Blade’s Fellowship Band was performing for free at the Kennedy Center, I could not have been more excited. The two performances coincided with Blue Note Record’s 75th Anniversary Celebration, a collection of some of the world’s best jazz musicians.
The Millennium Stage is not a large outdoor park where you show up with blankets, wine, and treat the artist like background music to your date. It is a small, intimate, indoor performance that seats no more than 150 people. You’ll need to show up at around 5:30 to make sure get a good seat. The cash bar features happy hour before the start of the show, offering a discount of 50% on all alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for sale. The Millennium Stage events begin at 6:00pm, 365 days a year. If you’re in D.C., don’t miss the chance to see world-class performing artists at one of the most beautiful venues in the world.
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