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Durham jazz fest hopes to put Triangle on musical map

Posted April 22
Updated April 23

On a recent night in downtown Raleigh, Peter Lamb and the Wolves filled Humble Pie restaurant with the sounds of jazz.

Lamb says the genre is like a musical conversation.

“It's almost like a game of basketball,” he said. “They throw me something, I throw it back to them. A lot of this is give and take.”

And the audience loves it.

“The thing about jazz, it brings this energy in you,” said Jacqueline Theodore, who got up and danced to the music. “You can't help but move your body.”

Jazz lovers like Theodore will have something to celebrate in Durham this weekend with the first Art of Cool Festival. It’s a big celebration of jazz, featuring two outdoor stages, six indoor venues and two dozen performances.

The festival kicks off with a free party Friday night at Durham's Central Park. There also are concerts Saturday at American Tobacco.

Tickets start at $65.

Organizer Al Strong says there's something for everybody.

“We tried to create a balance of experiences,” he said. “Some for the straight-ahead jazz crowd, some for the soul jazz crowd.”

Strong hopes the festival will help put the Triangle on the jazz map.

“This is the place for jazz,” Theodore said. “Yeah, this is the place for jazz.”

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