History

Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, in the grand tradition of the East Coast Jazz Festival…

The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival (MAFJ) is presented in the true spirit and intent of the former East Coast Jazz Festival (ECJF).  Founded in 1992 by vocalist/vocal educator Ronnie Wells, for the next 15 years the ECJF was produced by and benefited The Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship Fund, Inc. (FMJS).  ECJF was originally created in honor of Elmore “Fish” Middleton, a Washington, DC jazz radio programmer, whose commitment to promoting jazz music and supporting emerging jazz artists became the guiding principle behind the festival. 

The mission of the FMJS was “…to assist emerging jazz artists throughout the nation in their educational and artistic development; offer a wider base for the presentation of jazz; and insure the continuation of jazz education and performance in public schools and institutions of higher learning.”  That mission directly mirrors the intent of the Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival, which is being developed by a committee of concerned arts citizens & professionals convened by the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County (MD). 

For 15 years, up until Ms. Wells passing on to ancestry in March, 2007 she and her husband and co-founder, pianist-educator Ron Elliston presented the ECJF.  The festival ultimately became a mid-winter tradition in the Washington, DC metro region.  Additionally, the ECJF was the primary vehicle and fundraising element behind the FMJS.

As a mid-winter event the ECJF was unusual in the pantheon of jazz festivals, which are normally summertime phenomena across the globe.  But based on the FMJS mission the mid-winter date made perfect sense, enabling the ECJF to be positioned in the midst of the school year, attracting aspiring jazz students from around the region and beyond for performance and competition opportunities. 

The Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival (MAJF) represents an auspicious renewal of the spirit and intent of the ECJF, as a showcase for some of the DC area’s finest established and emerging artists, student ensembles, and a healthy dose of renowned touring jazz artists as well.  MAJF is designed to take the ECJF mid-winter jazz festival tradition to the next level and to further enhance arts & culture in the Washington, DC region.

The MAJF venue remains the former Doubletree Hotel in Rockville, MD, which has since the passing of Ms. Wells been significantly redesigned as the Hilton Hotel.  Our host hotel has even dedicated the suite where the founder lodged during the ECJF weekends as the Ronnie Wells Suite.  And along those lines the central MAJF venue will be re-positioned as the Ronnie Wells Room during the re-launch of this great tradition, the weekend of February 19, 2010. 

Produced by the Jazz Academy of Music, which hosts a burgeoning annual jazz camp for aspiring high school jazz musicians, the MAJF makes an indelible commitment to jazz education.  The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival will build upon the legacy of ECJF in presenting the region’s finest talents and visiting masters in unique “festival” programs and configurations, Next Generation jazz artists, and student ensembles.

The 2010 Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival will present a three-day jazz experience from February 19-21, 2010.  The MAJF will draw enthusiasts from across the eastern seaboard, enticing the over 4,000 jazz lovers who previously frequented the ECJF, including many fans who traditionally traveled to the ECJF from disparate parts of the country.