by Max Marbut
Over the years, the JJF has brought some of the most notable names in jazz and world music to Jacksonville. Beginning with Dizzy Gillespie, who headlined the inaugural festival, the list includes Miles Davis, George Benson, the Count Basie Orchestra, Chuck Mangione, Diana Krall, the Ramsey Lewis Trio, the Rippingtons, Branford Marsalis, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Tony Bennett, Grover Washington Jr., Al Jarreau, Spyro Gyra, Buddy Guy, Chris Botti, Chick Corea and Kenny G.
Artists returning to the festival this year include Diane Schuur, Boney James, David Sanborn and Herbie Hancock.
When Dizzy Gillespie performed at the event’s debut in 1980, there was only one stage and the festival was in Mayport. When the festival moved to Metropolitan Park Downtown, more stages were added to allow simultaneous performances during the event and to give more artists, particularly local musicians, the opportunity to be part of the lineup and put the festival on their resumes.
Since the festival moved to the heart of Downtown, there have been multiple stages, including at Hemming Plaza and the Landing plus one larger venue. In 2009, the big stage was set up at Laura and Forsyth streets. In 2010, the “Swingin’ Stage” moved to the area along Main Street between Adams and Monroe streets, also the site of this year’s large showcase.
Below are some of the acts appearing on the Swingin’ Stage this year with the day and time they’re scheduled to appear.