PICS: 2018 San Diego Jazz Fest

The 2018 San Diego Jazz Fest swung through the Town & Country Hotel and Convention Center Nov. 21-26 -- and SoundDiego photographer Alex Matthews was on-hand for all the action.

25 photos
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It was the 39th annual production of the spirited event -- and it's always a great time! (Sue Palmer & Her Motel Swing Orchestra pictured performing).
As you can see: It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing! (The following captions are largely courtesy of the San Diego Jazz Fest website -- head to for more information).
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Check the lineup of any major jazz festival and you will see this fabulous group listed -- St Louis' Cornet Chop Suey! Their extensive and loyal following guarantees packed houses every time they perform! (Brian Casserly pictured)
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Everyone loves Sonny LeLand’s (pictured) barrelhouse piano and authentic blues vocals -- including the committee that recently inducted him into the Boogie Woogie Hall of Fame. LeLand also performed with Sue Palmer, bassist Marty Eggers and drummer Jeff Hamilton during the Sonny & Sue Four Hands Piano set!
Gino & the Lone Gunmen are a high-energy rockabilly crew from Winchester, California that's wowed audiences from the Gaslamp Quarter to the Inland Empire and all the way to the Viva Las Vegas weekend in Las Vegas. (Gino Meregillano pictured)
Dave Bennett (pictured) has appeared across North America with his quartet, symphony orchestras and as a guest with a variety of bands -- always enthralling audiences with toe-tapping swing, moody blues, and emotional ballads.
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San Diego’s own Queen of Boogie Woogie, Sue Palmer (pictured), has long presented a winning combination of blues and swing music.
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Just look at Steve Wilcox's (left) beautiful, vintage Gibson Barney Kessel signature guitar! Ooooof -- simply gorgeous!
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Palmer and her band of excellent musicians are a hit at seemingly every local festival!
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The group also kicked off the "Swing Extravaganza," too -- which was, you guessed it, a night of great swing dancing!
Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders are a hard swinging and stylistically faithful ensemble created in the mold of the late-1930s, early-1940s dance band. (Guitarist Jonathan Stout pictured foreground)
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Their sound is characterized by an aggressive four-on-the-floor time-feel, thick and riffy horn arrangements, and an eclectic songbook that touches on the sweet and sentimental as well as the hot and bothered.
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The octet performs arrangements that were popularized not by the large orchestras or small combos, but the many medium-sized outfits that worked during the time such as those led by Fletcher Henderson, the Coleman Hawkins All Stars, various Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton side groups, the Dickie Wells and Willie Bryant orchestras, and more.
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With Laura Windley (pictured) featured on vocals, the band also explores the wonderful songbook left behind by Billie Holiday during her years with Brunswick, where she and Teddy Wilson pulled together some of the hardest swinging players to bring to life some of the greatest pop tunes ever written.
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The band's one mission in any setting? To share the joy and infectious energy of mid-20th century American jazz!
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The Mad Hat Hucksters (pictured) are a local San Diego Band playing a mix of New Orleans Jazz and Swing.
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The group has been influenced by Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Benny Goodman, Clarence Williams, and other greats.
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The Mad Hat Hucksters performing.
The Mad Hat Hucksters performing.
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The Mad Hat Hucksters performing.
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The Heliotrope Ragtime Orchestra was also a big attraction at the fest!
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As dancers in vintage costumes perform a Turkey Trot to the HRO, the audience is magically transported back in time.
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Influenced just as much by the young bands on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans as the players of the past, the Big Butter Jazz Band has quickly become a favorite of the LA swing dance scene. (Conrad Cayman pictured)
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They've got a fresh, fun, and energetic take on traditional jazz.
Katie Cavera, the “California Sunshine Girl” (pictured right, with CJ Sam), is an ace banjoist, guitarist, bassist and vocalist. Her trio kicked off Thursday night's festivities and then she played bass with the Grand Dominion Jazz Band throughout the weekend. We can't believe it's over -- what a great time! Can't wait until next year's San Diego Jazz Fest!
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