Atlanta Jazz Festival 2015 Preview: Sunday (5/24) on the Locals Stage

Tony Hightower

Tony Hightower

On the 2015 Atlanta Jazz Festival stage devoted to ATL area artists, the festival’s final day, Sunday May 24th, will feature more of a traditional jazz schedule than Saturday. You’ll have your pick of a big band, a smooth jazz saxophonist, a classic jazz quintet and an up and coming vocalist. All are first-rate representatives of the best the ATL jazz scene has to offer.

 

 

12:30 PM Joe Gransden and His Big Band

Joe Gransden is a veteran trumpeter/vocalist who has often been compared to another trumpet master who also sang a little, Chet Baker. A New York native, Mr. Gransden has 14 albums to his credit, including his latest Songs of Sinatra and Friends. Atlanta residents know Gransden from his appearances on  the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month at Cafe 290, with his big band. That same band will get AJF38’s Sunday off to a great start, with swinging charts, hot trumpet solos and cool vocals.

2:30 PM Mastery

An all-star group composed of some of Atlanta’s top jazz veterans, Mastery features the original compositions of bassist and leader, Mamaniji Azanyah.  If straight ahead jazz in the style of Bird, Miles, Trane, Mingus and Monk is what you seek, then Mastery is where you will find it. When these cats hit the stage, expect no gimmicks and nothing cute, just hard-driving, swinging, classic jazz – Straight, No Chaser.

4:30 PM Jeff Sparks

In the tradition of Grover Washington, Najee and Gospel Jazz groups such as Allen and Allen, Jeff Sparks work on the soprano and alto saxophones combines R&B, smooth and classic jazz into a joyous mixture that has been pleasing Atlanta crowds for over 20 years. Listeners of all ages are uplifted by Mr. Sparks sound and leave his performances feeling better than when they came in. You can take some of that good feeling home with you on Sparks’ album Love.Life.Soul

6:30 PM Tony Hightower 

Tony Hightower is known to many in the Atlanta area for his performances in many of Tyler Perry’s stage productions. As an R&B singer, Mr. Hightower worked with Lionel Richie, Outkast and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, among others. But it has always been Hightower’s dream to be a jazz vocalist in the style of the great Nat King Cole. So, when Mr. Hightower decided to record his first jazz album, The New Standard, he went right to the source, accepting advice and tutelage from Atlanta resident, Cole sibling and a great jazz vocalist in his own right, Freddy Cole. Tony Hightower shows a great deal of promise on the album, with several compelling tracks. I’m sure he will bring those gifts to the stage in his live performance.

Tracks from many of the artists performing at AJF38 may be heard daily from 5 PM – 7 PM on our streaming jazz radio station, Curt’s Cafe Noir, from now through May 31.

For more information about the Atlanta Jazz Festival, visit their website http://atlantafestivals.com 

 

 

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