Chick Webb Jazz Combo Competition at Artscape: Prize $1,000


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Calling all top bands to compete for the third annual Chick Webb Jazz Combo Competition, presented by MECU. The competition honors the legendary musical career of jazz pioneer William Henry Webb. Local and regional jazz combos can compete for a $1,000 cash prize. The submission deadline is Friday, May 14 by 5pm. The Chick Webb Jazz Combo Competition takes place during Artscape, Americas largest, free arts festival on Saturday, July 17 from 3-6pm. The winner of the competition is announced at 5:45pm. Admission to the show is free and open to the public. Artscape takes place Friday, July 16 and Saturday, July 17 from noon-10pm and Sunday, July 18 from noon-8pm on Mt. Royal Avenue and North Charles Street. Chick Webb Jazz Combo Competition, a program of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, is presented by MECU, Baltimores Credit Union, and produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts.

The competition is open to jazz trios, quartets and quintets throughout the United States. Musicians must be at least 18 years or older to apply. Eligible bands must submit a MP3 or CD of 2-3 songs with at least one Chick Webb cover and a brief bio or rsum of their musical background. Submissions can be mailed to the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, attn: Chick Webb Jazz Combo Competition, 7 East Redwood Street, Suite 500, Baltimore, MD, 21202.

Decisions in the preliminary round will be based on the recordings submitted by the bands. Selected groups will move on to compete during the Artscape weekend where a panel of judges, distinguished in the music field, will decide the winner based on the performance given. Judges will be announced at a later date.

The jazz giant, William Henry Webb, popularly known as Chick Webb, was born in Baltimore in 1905. As a child, he worked as a newspaper boy to save up money to buy a drum set and played professionally for the first time at the age of 11. At 17, he moved to New York City and by the following year had assembled a band of his own, a quintet called the Harlem Stoppers. By the early 1930s, Webb's quintet had grown into the Chick Webb Orchestra, which became the house band at the Savoy Ballroom, one of the top night spots in Harlem. Chick Webb was considered the premiere drummer of the swing era. His powerful technique and virtuoso performances were emulated by many jazz drummers that followed. Chick Webb died in Baltimore in 1939 at the age of 34. His influence on jazz music continues today.

For more information about Chick Webb Jazz Combo Competition, visit artscape.org or call 410-752-8632.

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