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BRIC Jazzfest Will Return In Person, with Sun Ra Arkestra, Cécile McLorin Salvant, More

Cécile McLorin Salvant performing at the GroundUP Music Festival in Feb. 2020.
Jonathan Chimene
Cécile McLorin Salvant performing at the GroundUP Music Festival in Feb. 2020.

The BRIC Jazzfest will take place in person again this fall, with artists including vocalists Cécile McLorin Salvant, Kurt Elling and Thana Alexa; the indomitably intergalactic Sun Ra Arkestra; and Brooklyn-based sound artist L'Rain.

The festival, now in its seventh year, is scheduled for Oct. 21-23 at BRIC House in downtown Brooklyn. "During these uncertain times, I couldn't be more thrilled that we're able to bring our communities safely together through the healing power of music," Lia Camille Crocket, Director of Performing Arts at BRIC, says in a press announcement.

Crocket co-curated the festival with producer Brice Rosenbloom, of Winter Jazzfest, and vocalist Madison McFerrin, a vital presence on the New York scene. "Curating an event of this scale was such an awesome challenge," McFerrin reflects in a statement. "I wanted to make sure this festival showed the expansive, intergenerational range that is jazz; from standards to experimental, from Hip-Hop to Afro-Latinx. Knowing the power of music, my hope is that this incredible lineup helps bring the Brooklyn community some much needed healing vibes during these challenging times."

Salvant, a recently minted MacArthur Fellow, will headline the festival's opening night, on Oct. 21. Elling will appear with his SuperBlue band, featuring guitarist Charlie Hunter, on the same evening, as will the Dominican guitarist Yasser Tejeda.

The Sun Ra Arkestra, led by Marshall Allen, will perform on Oct. 22, along with Alexa and her project ONA. And the bill on Oct. 23 will feature McFerrin, L'Rain, and çtois — an experimental trio made up of trumpeter Jaimie Branch, bassist Luke Stewart and drummer Tcheser Holmes. More artists will be announced at a later date.

Like many other cultural events, BRIC Jazzfest is returning this year after a long hiatus necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 edition was first postponed, and then converted into a virtual presentation that aired this spring.

BRIC JazzFest At Home 2021

The pandemic, of course, is still a pressing concern, even with vaccination rates in New York state hovering around 60%. To ensure public safety, BRIC House will require that audience members show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours.

Tickets for BRIC Jazzfest are on sale now. For more information about the festival, visit the official site.

A veteran jazz critic and award-winning author, and a regular contributor to NPR Music.