The Neptunes #1 fan site, all about Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo

The Neptunes #1 fan site, all about Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo

Robin Thicke At The Richmond Jazz Festival

Chermine Green snapped her fingers and shimmied to the sounds of the jazz group Down to the Bone on the grounds of Maymont yesterday as the Richmond Jazz Festival got off to a rainy, cloudy start. “The artists brought me back,” said Green, who attended the festival last year and purchased a two-day pass for this year’s event.

The sprinkling of rain that threatened on and off wasn’t a deterrent to sticking it out, she said. “It’s just laid-back and relaxing. Something for the grown and sexy,” said Green, who lives in Chesterfield County.

The festival, in its second year, features music on two stages on the sprawling grounds of Maymont, a 100-acre estate bequeathed to the city of Richmond. Saturday’s performers included Spyro Gyra, Christian McBride, Maysa, The Rippingtons, Earl Klugh, Chrisette Michele and Aaron Neville. The festival, a mix of jazz, rhythm and blues and pop artists, continues today, with the gates opening at 11 a.m. The lineup includes Los Lobos, Robin Thicke, Fourplay, Brian Culbertson, Pieces Of A Dream and more. Ron Robinson of Midlothian and about a dozen friends enjoyed the music, food and beverages from under a tent near the Verizon stage.

They were all former employees of DuPont, he said, and chipped in to buy a tent package. “This is putting Richmond on the map,” said Robinson. “It’s almost like I’ve died and gone to jazz heaven. I like jazz in general … I am anxious to see Simone because I was a fan of her mother.” Simone, daughter of jazz legend Nina Simone, took the stage at about 4:35. A big screen near the stage broadcast her image, making it unnecessary to be near the stage to see the show. She did a big-band tribute to her mother and then delighted the crowd with a bluesy song.

“I love the blues,” she screamed before launching into song. Angela Flagg, spokesman for Johnson Inc., which organized the festival, said it was too early to count heads. “We are thrilled with the thousands of jazz fans who came out to support the festival for a second year. This is becoming a Richmond tradition that everyone will look forward to next summer.” The shows continue today, rain or shine. Lawn chairs and coolers are allowed, but no pets, outside alcoholic beverages or glass bottles.

*timesdispatch.com

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