Jazz Fest comes to a close, officials tout increased attendance

BY BRETT KARLAN | JULY 08, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa City Jazz Festival brought food, fun, and plenty of swinging jazz to downtown Iowa City this past weekend.

Summer of the Arts Executive Director Lisa Barnes called the 2013 Jazz Fest a “rousing success,” with temperate weather bringing in higher numbers than last year’s festival.

“We’re very proud of the Iowa City Jazz Festival,” she said. “I think our [committees] did a good job bringing in so much new talent as well as legends.”

Laranja performed on July 5, combining modern world and rock music with a tight contemporary jazz sound. Laranja was the only professional local ensemble that performed on the festival’s main stage.

Sachal Vasandani’s smooth vocal performance with the Iowa Jazz Orchestra backing him proved to be a crowd favorite as well. The Iowa City fireworks show put an exclamation point on the day’s events.

The first standing ovation on July 6 went to the Christian Scott Quartet for its blistering and politically conscious music. Dr. Lonnie Smith’s show also proved to be fast and energetic, with a group of young dancers forming in front of the organist as if at a rock concert.

Sunday’s performances lightened in tone but not in musicality. The JD Allen Trio and the Fred Hirsch Trio brought a refined sensibility to the afternoon’s lineup. Legendary saxophonist Pharoah Sanders closed the festival with a show that looked both backwards at jazz’s past and forward to what lies ahead.

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