Iva Jean Ambush, DeCasto Brown, Kendra Johnson

Festival Schedule


4:30 PMJazz3D
Featuring: Iva Jean Ambush, DeCasto Brown, Kendra Johnson
PerformanceMAJF Club



Three individual artists, DeCasto Brown, Kendra Johnson and Iva Jean Ambush, bring their unique voices together to form Jazz3D.  Reigniting the sounds of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, Manhattan Transfer and other vocalese groups.


DeCasto Brown is a native Washingtonian whose musical inspiration began during his early introduction into the Baptist Church.  A graduate of Anacostia High School and Delaware State University, he flourished within the drama department and mastered on the football field as an All-American and Hall of Fame wide receiver.  He became a member of the Autumn House Gospel Ensemble (a professional theatre company in the state of Delaware).  While attending Delaware State he became acquainted with the “Masters of Jazz” which includes Clifford Brown and John Coltrane, his personal favorites.  His vocal influences include Eddie Jefferson, Johnny Hartman, Abbey Lincoln and brothers Nat and Freddy Cole.  Throughout the years, he has performed at many venues around the DC, MD and VA area.  DeCasto’s natural baritone/tenor style is unique and whether up tempo or ballad, he has the chops of a jazz maestro.  

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Vocalist and Recording Artist Kendra Johnson has been immersed in music her entire life.  As many artists do, she began singing in the church at an early age, and continues to lift her voice in song every chance she gets.  Kendra’s love of music crosses several genres, from gospel to jazz and contemporary music, and has helped to shape her own unique musical style.  This Motown born vocalist has performed throughout the East Coast, Midwest, North and South Carolina and the DC Metropolitan area.  In recent years, she has performed at venues such as The Fillmore, the renowned Twins Jazz Club, Montpelier Arts Center, Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society, and the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival.  Kendra’s vocal journey has been blessed, enabling her also to perform at private events.  She has had the fortune to sing for the National Association of Broadcasters Service to America Gala held at the Andrew Mellon Center honoring Jon Bon Jovi, and for AT&T’s first Black History celebration held at Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture honoring Isaiah Thomas, Judy Smith and Ran Tran.  She has performed several times for the FDA, The Victims’ Rights Foundation and events hosted by Montgomery County MD, celebrating its rich cultural history. 

Under the direction of Connaitre Miller, Associate Professor of Music and Vocal Jazz Coordinator at Howard University, Kendra has performed at the Strathmore Arts Complex.  She is one of the featured vocal artists on DC’s own jazz composer/pianist Terry Marshall’s debut CD, and is a member of his jazz ensemble, Bridges.  Kendra is also a part of a new jazz trio, “Jazz3d.”  These experiences have spurred her desire to embark upon her own recording project in 2018. 

God continues to light the path in all that she does personally, as wife and mother, professionally as a financial consultant, and spiritually as an active member and participant in the renowned music ministry of Goshen United Methodist Church in Gaithersburg MD.

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Iva Jean Ambush with a family full of musicians and singers, of course, music came naturally to Iva Jean Ambush.  Jazz and Gospel was in her blood.  Her relatives filled the choir loft and the family reunions were entrenched in live music. Iva cut her teeth on Jazz with artists, such as, the late Lester Bowie (Art Ensemble of Chicago), Joseph Bowie (Defunkt/New Language), Byron Bowie, Jonathan Townes, Scott Ambush, Allan Ambush, and the Bartonsville Coronet Band.  But, it was an “Emerging Artists Workshop” with Ronnie Wells at the Elliston Studio for Jazz Studies, and took private lessons with bebop legend Sheila Jordan that inspired Iva to re-examine this language, Jazz. Iva Jean continued studying improvisation with Ms. Jordan, Horace Boyer, Jay Clayton, and, currently, Vince Evans. She has performed at the DC Jazz Festival, Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club, Jazz and Cultural Society, International Association of Jazz Educators Conferences, Frederick – In The Streets Festival, Billy Strayhorn 100th Celebration, WPFW 89.3 Live @ 5, Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Amherst Fine Arts Center, Ritz Carlton Pentagon, Frederick’s 4th of July Celebration (multiple years), the East Coast Jazz Festival, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and more.  


Moody's Mood (DeCasto Brown)

This Bitter Earth (Kendra Johnson)

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