On Saturday, July 27 from 12–6 p.m., the free Dudley Jazz Fest returns to Mary Hannon Park on Dudley Street in Dorchester for its fourth year. This year, Salim Washington will headline the festival, along with Gabrielle Goodman, The Lance Martin Jazz Trio and The Fred Woodard Collective.
Since its inception in 2016, festival founder Fred Woodard has worked to bring major jazz musicians to Dorchester. “Dorchester is my community,” he says. “The main objective for me is to create a music scene within my neighborhood. To create an event that the community becomes known for.”
For the 2019 festival, Woodard recruited his longtime friend Salim Washington to perform. Washington spent a number of years around Boston, where he received his Ph.D. from Harvard. He now lives and performs full-time in South Africa, but Woodard was able to snag him for the show during one of his tours back through the U.S. “He’s a pretty versatile guy and a good composer as well,” says Woodard.
The Fred Woodward Collective
Jason Palmer, a well-known Boston area trumpeter, will perform with Salim during the festival.
In other local talent, audiences will see Gabrielle Goodman, a jazz vocalist and Berklee professor, and the Boston-based Lance Martin Jazz Trio. Goodman has produced five highly acclaimed CDs and is working on her sixth. Prior to branching out into her own work she performed as a backup vocalist for big names like Chaka Khan, Roberta Flack, Freddie Jackson and Patti LaBelle, among others.
The Lance Martin Trio features Martin, John Baboian and Dave Clark, all of whom are music professors in the Boston area. The group is known for taking audience requests rather than playing off a traditional set list. This is because of their core belief that every musician should know at least 5,000 songs.
The Fred Woodard Collective is trying a new tactic at the festival this year. “My set list is going to be all original music,” says Woodard. “During previous years I’ve kind of mixed it up with jazz standards. But this year I went through all my original material and selected songs that I’d like to perform.” One of those songs is “Urban Garden,” a piece dedicated to Woodard’s students at the Roland Hayes School of Music in Roxbury.
Above all, Woodard hopes the festival allows people to connect with their neighbors and neighborhood musicians on a personal level.
“Nowadays there’s a lot of competition for people’s attention and their time. There are a lot of different ways people can be entertained,” he says. “So when people show up, I’m really happy about it.”