In spite of my best intentions, I have almost always found myself in a breathless rush to the finish to complete my annual Atlanta Jazz Festival preview posts. I’ve sometimes finished a preview literally minutes before the music begins. This year it will be different! Because we are starting a month before AJF38 begins, we should have plenty of time to do each stage justice and at the same time provide you with the info you’ll need to decide where to be if you plan to be in Piedmont Park this Memorial Day Weekend.
The Locals Stage was a new idea to last year’s Festival, giving those artists who spend most of the year playing in the ATL area a chance to gain a bit more exposure than they regularly receive. It will continue this year with a rather eclectic but talented group of performers. Here’s a look at what Saturday, May 23rd, on the Locals Stage will look like:
12:30 PM – Tri-Cities High School Jazz Band
The Bank of America Youth Jazz Band Competition allows young jazz musicians from all over the ATL metropolitan area the opportunity to showcase their talent. The second place winners this year and recipients of a $750 contribution to their music program, was the Tri-Cities High School Jazz Band. These fine young musicians will get a chance to show their stuff as they kick things off on The Locals Stage.
How this Brooklyn-based vocalist and her group got to be considered for the AJF’s Locals Stage, is a geographical mystery. But, Ms. Davis is a cool and interesting vocalist and their sound is fresh and hip, so damn the map and dig their music. Ms. Davis has described her sound as “Future Soul”. She started the “The Nebraska Jones Experiment” as a one woman show on a subway platform. The “NJE” is now a collective of musicians from all over the world. Their jazz includes, soul, hip-hop, pop and even a little turntable. They will definitely be bringing a little slice of Brooklyn cool to the ATL.
4:30 PM – Kenosha Kid
How does a cat from Athens, GA come to be known as “Kenosha Kid”? Good question. I’ll let his AJF38 page tell the story: “In Thomas Pynchon’s novel Gravity’s Rainbow, the Kenosha Kid is a maddeningly ambiguous figure: it might be a cowboy, or a dance, or a Sodium Amytal-induced hallucination (or all of the above). Guitarist/composer Dan Nettles (who, by the way, has never been to Kenosha, WI) conceived his namesake band with similarly uncategorizable intentions. This Kenosha Kid might be an indie rock band, could be a modernist jazz ensemble, can probably be considered a jam band, and most definitely is all of the above”
There you have it. Kenosha Kid also has a new album out, called Inside Voices. Check out the album and Dan Nettles at 4:30 PM.
6:30 PM – Wolfpack ATL
I can promise you this: When these Atlanta legends hit the Locals Stage, everybody in Piedmont Park will know it. Wolfpack ATL is loud, it is funky and it is probably like nothing else you’ve heard before. Think Sun Ra, meets Dirty South Hip Hop, meets Clark ATL Marching Band. Wolfpack ATL is the brainchild of Grammy award-winning saxophonist Kebbi Williams. They have performed all over the Atlanta area, winning hearts and moving butts. If you want to find them, get to the park at 6:30 and just listen for the funky tubas.
Our next AJF38 post will feature the artists who will play the Locals Stage on Sunday May 24, the final day of the Festival.
For more on the Atlanta Jazz Festival 2015, visit their website http://atlantafestivals.com/