While the weather in Cape May was cold and dreary this weekend, the music was white hot at the Exit Zero Jazz Festival. The three-day festival includes dozens of artists, playing a range of jazz styles. It is spread across multiple venues including the Cape May Convention Hall, Schmidtchen Theater, Carney’s restaurant, and Iron Pier Craft House.
The festival has come a long way, according to producer Michael Klein. In fact, he recalls kicking off the first year’s festivities in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Exit Zero Jazz Festival Comes to Cape May
The 2017 lineup excites Klein, he admits. One of the highlights is Maceo Parker and the Ray Charles Orchestra. It is “the east coast premiere of that project,” he says. Music lovers should take note.
Parker is most famous for playing saxophone alongside the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, and was featured on songs like “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “Cold Sweat” to name a few. He also accompanied artists like Bootsy Collins, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Keith Richards.
Klein also expressed his excitement about the age diversity of the performers, noting the “younger guys who are coming at the music from a different point of view.”
Saxophone player and Exit Zero Jazz Festival artist-in-residence Mike Pedicin says the festival is a great way to expose younger audiences to jazz. “I think people need to be open enough to experience music that they’ve never heard before,” says Pedicin. His style takes influence from jazz saxophonists like John Coltrane. He also notes the importance of jazz as “America’s only inherent art form.”
Along with Parker and Pedicin, other Exit Zero Jazz Festival headliners include the Robert Glasper Experiment and Kenny Barron. In addition, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Daisy Castro, Frank Bey and PhillyBloco are on the schedule.