The Norman Transcript

N-town stories

June 14, 2013

Jazz in June has something for everyone

NORMAN — Blues, funk, zydeco, Dixieland, bebop, Latin and big band are all a part of the brassy, swinging sound filling up summer nights during the 30th annual Jazz in June.

Scheduled for June 20-22, the free festival began as a single concert in 1984 that drew a crowd of 300. Now this year’s Norman tradition is expected to attract 50,000 people.

Norman Hammon, Jazz in June director of development, said Jazz in June’s goal is to put on a festival that educates the public about jazz.

“We try to show people that all of this is jazz,” Hammon said. “It all has a relationship to that one root thing and jazz is uniquely American. It’s not something we borrowed from another country. It has a lot of influences from other countries, but it’s American and that’s really what we’re pushing.”

A total of 10 groups will be performing during the festival, representing a wide range of genres that all fall under the jazz umbrella. Jim Johnson, Jazz in June program chair, said there is something for every musical taste.

“It’s a tradition we try to keep alive. I think the sound is infectious and we love it and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and that’s great, as far as I’m concerned,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t seem to be any less influential than it ever has been.”

This year’s headliner is The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. The band’s latest CD, “Twenty Dozen,” features seamless blending of genres like R&B, jazz and funk, plus Afro-Latino grooves, some Caribbean flavor and even a Rihanna cover.

Johnson said the group’s Norman performance gives audience members the opportunity to see a band that revolutionized the sound of traditional New Orleans jazz.

“They’re really a part of New Orleans jazz history,” Johnson said. “They’re a band that many people in New Orleans credit to taking the street parade, kind of the second line tradition, and crossing over and blending it with some of the other sounds that are certainly familiar in New Orleans — Dixieland jazz and second line but also funk.”

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