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The Richmond Jazz Festival 

Thursday, Aug. 11 through Sunday, Aug. 14

click to enlarge Christian McBride
  • Christian McBride
Swing revivalists Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, melisma master Aaron Neville and R&B singer Chrisette Michele are among 20 national artists performing at the second Richmond Jazz Festival. Pitched solidly at popular tastes and labeled jazz as much for respectability as for improvisational content, the lineup is weighted toward smooth jazz, with some of the biggest names in easy listening (Earl Kluge, Fourplay, Spyro Gyra and the Rippingtons) alongside supergroups such as Soul of Summer (Jonathan Butler, Maysa and Eric Darius) and Jazz Attack (Rick Braun, Peter White and Gerald Albright). After a Thursday launch at the restored Hippodrome, and the sponsor kickoff at CenterStage, where Bio Ritmo opens for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the festival moves to Maymont. Like a good buffet, there are tasty finds among the iceberg lettuce, dinner rolls and Cool Whip (Latino rock ’n’ roll pioneers Los Lobos play Sunday at 6 p.m.). One of the best bands in serious jazz, premier bassist Christian McBride’s Inside Straight, featuring Virginia Commonwealth University alum Steve Wilson and vibes player Warren Wolf, is a hidden gem within the Saturday afternoon lineup. The Richmond Jazz Festival happens Aug. 11-14 at the Hippodrome, CenterStage and Maymont. $30-$50. jazzatmaymont.com.
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