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DC Jazz Festival 2016: "The Lafayette Suite" on June 8

DC Jazz Festival 2016: "The Lafayette Suite" on June 8

Published on May 25, 2016
DC Jazz Festival presents "The Lafayette Suite" concert by French pianist Laurent Coq and American saxophonist Walter Smith III, with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

Inspired by the story of the Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834), Laurent Coq and Walter Smith III composed a suite of music in ten chapters that would retrace the destiny of the French aristocrat who fought alongside the colonists in the American Revolution.

To both artists, "The Lafayette Suite", celebrating this historical figure, not only symbolizes the French-American friendship, but also illustrates combat for freedom and audacity that have always driven jazz musicians.

The themes chosen represent characters, places and important events that took place during the eight years of Lafayette’s involvement, from his support to the American insurgents to the decisive battle of Yorktown that culminated in their victory.

Reservation is mandatory, please click here to register online.


Laurent Coq and Walter Smith III - ©Eric Garault

Walter Smith III is widely recognized as an adept performer, accomplished composer, and inspired educator. Walter Smith’s debut recording as a leader, Casually Introducing, was released in March 2006 on the Fresh Sound New Talent label and featuring many young Jazz talents. He has released three other albums as leader: Live In Paris (2009), III (2010) and Still Casual (2014). He has been a member of several legendary groups including the Terence Blanchard Quintet, Eric Harland’s Voyager band, Roy Haynes "Fountain of Youth" band, Jason Moran’s Big Bandwagon, and the Christian McBride Situation band. The American saxophonist has performed in international festivals as well as famous venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. He has also collaborated with many Jazz notables including Roy Haynes, Eric Reed, Mulgrew Miller, Joe Lovano, Walter Beasley and Terri Lynne Carrington.

French artist Laurent Coq has been playing piano since the age of seven and went to the "Conservatoire National de Musique d’Aix-en-Provence".He was awarded a Ministry of Foreign Affairs grant in 1994 to travel to the U.S., where he studied with pianists Bruce Barth, John Hicks and Mulgrew Miller, who went on to produce his first two albums, Jaywalkerand Changeable. Laurent Coq made his debut as a producer in 2001 overseeing the recording of French songstress Laurence Allison’s album Thelonious and Bud Together Again. Living between Paris and New York, he continues to perform with his Parisian trio Laurent Coq Blowing Trio featuring tenor saxophone player Davil El-Malek and viola player Oliver Zanot, and a New York-based quartet featuring tenor saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh, double bass player Brandon Owens, and drummer Damion Reid.

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