Fishman is the executive producer of the DC Jazz Festival, which kicked off on Friday. The 10-day festival will feature more than 100 concerts at venues across the city featuring both local and world-renowned artists. Most events are free, but some will cost up to $60.
Why is it important to hold this kind of festival?
It's really important for young people, especially, to be exposed to this art form. Unfortunately, with rare exception, you can hardly hear it on the radio ... you don't see jazz on television really and there are no more record stores. So you can best expose people to the music through a festival.
Do you think there are lessons to be learned through this kind of music?
Absolutely. Jazz represents freedom. Jazz represents democracy. Jazz represents a united kind of character and, also, it encourages the individual to express himself or herself within the context of a piece of music.
Why hold the festival in the District?
Jazz was invented in this country, and the greatest jazz musicians in the world come from this country. ... So it's only fitting that there be a jazz festival in the capital of the nation that invented the music.
Does the District have a strong jazz culture?
Yes it does. ... When I settled down, I just discovered we have some incredible musicians in this town -- world-class musicians as well. ... One of the great things about the festival, we're able to showcase great music with great musicians in every quadrant of the city.
What are you most excited about for this year's festival?
When you think about a city being transformed into an oasis of jazz, it's pretty exciting because you can see anything from straight-ahead jazz, to Latin jazz, to blues, to funk, to a cappella, and it's just a whole pantheon of music. We have musicians from about 20 different countries performing at the festival. - Jacob Demmitt