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All That Rosslyn Jazz

The Rosslyn Jazz Festival returns for a 17th year.

Rosslyn will be swinging with the sound of jazz next weekend for the 17th year in a row.

The annual Rosslyn Jazz Festival will take place on Saturday, Sept. 8 and the lineup this year is packed with talented musicians.

Headlining the festival, now in its 17th year, is Regina Carter, who was described by Arlington County Cultural Affairs Department spokesperson Jim Byers as "the preeminent jazz violinist working today."

Byers is one of the organizers of the festival. He worked with the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, a group that seeks to promote business development in the Rosslyn area, to put the concert on.

Concertgoers, he said, "should expect another year of some of the top names in jazz music."

Another musician playing the festival is vocalist Kevin Mahogany. Mahogany’s regular piano accompanist was forced to cancel at the last minute but, Byers said that the Jazz Festival was able to find him a replacement.

"We are not able to disclose his identity but it is a major name among jazz artists," Byers said. "He could be a headliner in his own right."

Another featured artist is Bobby Hutcherson, a vibraphonist who is credited with ushering the vibraphone into the modern era, and Red Holloway, a saxophonist who bridges the genres of jazz and blues.

THE FESTIVAL, which is being held outdoors at Rosslyn’s Gateway Park, will also be simulcast on local radio station WPFW.

Bobby Hill, the program director for the station, said that WPFW has been partnering with the Rosslyn Jazz Festival for years now and that the festival has raised the profile of jazz in the nation’s capital.

"Any opportunity to share this music… supports what we do," Hill said. "They have world-renowned artists as well as some [local] residents… They contribute to the awareness and sharing of the music."

The Rosslyn Business Improvement District is the main driving force behind the festival. Cecilia Cassidy, the group’s president, said that when the festival began it was just a block party on North Moore Street.

Since then it has steadily grown to a major event that can attract such musical luminaries as James Moody, Ahmad Jamal, Juanita Williams and, nine years ago, local D.C. legend Chuck Brown.

"It has just mushroomed," Cassidy said, noting that last year the festival drew a capacity crowd of almost 8,000 people to the tiny park in North Rosslyn.

Ultimately, the annual jazz festival has become a signature event for the densely populated Arlington neighborhood. Cassidy said that the festival is thriving in Rosslyn because jazz music fits the image that many people have of the area.

"Jazz is sophisticated," she said. "So is Rosslyn."