Story by Gregg McQueen
It’s uptown for the swing.
The jazz standard “Take the A Train” was first composed in 1939, and it became one of Duke Ellington’s signature songs once he and his band introduced it in 1941.
It’s taken a few years, but the first-ever Washington Heights Jazz Festival has arrived.
The weekend-long event will be held from March 9 to 11 and will feature 12 different bands performing at three venues across three days.
It is presented by JazzWahi, a cohort of uptown jazz musicians and educators that formed in 2014 over a mutual love of jazz.
Louise Rogers, who co-founded the festival as well as JazzWahi with her husband, musician and composer Mark Kross, said the goal of the festival is to foster a greater appreciation for the genre in Northern Manhattan.
“We want to show people that jazz can be accessible, and also spotlight the talented musicians that are right here,” said Rogers. “About 50 musicians are performing at the festival, and most of them are from the local community.”
The festival will kick off on March 9 with a performance at Kismat Bar from a jazz trio led by Rogers, a longtime vocalist and recording artist. She also works as a music teacher and has written several books on jazz.
Other performances will be held at local restaurants Le Cheile and Las Tapas, with Saturday’s schedule featuring a concert for kids.