Jazz Festival takes over Iowa City


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In addition to celebrating the Fourth of July, Iowa City residents had the opportunity to tune into the three days’ worth of jazz from both local and national artists; the weekend marked the 25th anniversary of the Iowa City Jazz Festival.

The Jazz Festival is ranked as one of the top 10 such festivals in the country by Downbeat magazine. According to the Summer of the Arts website, officials estimate the festival has attracted more than 250,000 jazz fans to Iowa City with roughly $7 million in economic impact since its inception in 1991. The festival averages more than 50,000 attendees each year.

The festival, which took place from July 2-4, kicked off with a United Jazz Ensemble on the Main Stage.

The July 3 events started as it has the past three years, with the North Corridor Jazz All-Stars performing at the Main Stage at 1 p.m. The band is composed of high-school jazz musicians from Cedar Falls to Cedar Rapids. Students from across the corridor were featured in solos and group ensemble to ring in jazz for the weekend.

If not sitting down on the Pentacrest listening to the music, attendees could be found roaming the “Culinary Corridor” indulging in everything from Yolanda’s BBQ’s fried rice to cone of elaborately colored shaved ice from Snow Biz.

Dave Douglas and High Risk sent attendees home happy with features from Jonathan Maron, Mark Guiliana, and Shigeto. By 10:30 p.m., the music on the Main Stage was over and out, but people could be found roaming to the Englert Theater, funnel cake in hand, to catch some more jazz from Chicago trio Whirlpool with Ron Miles for the 11 p.m performance.

Downtown Iowa City came alive on Saturday with the sounds of Minnesota jazz.

At 2 p.m., the Twin Cities’ Atlantis Quartet took the Main Stage on the Pentacrest to sonically narrate the day’s festival activities. A colorful sea of lawn chairs and baseball caps filled the lush, green expanse of grass before the Old Capitol.

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