Archive for the Atlanta Jazz Festival 2012 Category

Atlanta Jazz Festival 2012 Preview – Kathleen Bertrand

Posted in Atlanta Jazz Festival 2012 with tags , on May 13, 2012 by curtjazz

A well-known jazz singer friend of mine read my introductory blog post for this year’s Atlanta Jazz Festival. Apparently, she clicked on the link in that post to Kathleen Bertrand’s website. She then asked me a single question “Kathleen Bertrand is a star in Atlanta, isn’t she?” When I responded in the affirmative, she then said. “I knew it, because she is terrific!”

Being a few hundred miles up the road, in Charlotte, I admit that until recently, I was also unfamiliar with Ms. Bertrand. But after hearing her most recent album, Katharsis, released in 2011, I join my singer friend in praising Kathleen Bertrand’s vocal gifts.  She has released four albums to date, on which she tackles a variety of tunes – from the Great American Songbook, to gospel, to R & B classics and even Christmas standards, all in an inviting husky alto voice that is unique and memorable.

Ms. Bertrand is an Atlanta native and Spelman College graduate. She has performed at two Olympiads and for two U.S. Presidents, before taking some time away to raise her family.  Since returning to the music scene, she has performed at twice at the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival and four times at the Atlanta Jazz Festival, prior to 2012.  She has opened for a wealth of artists, ranging from Ray Charles to Najee, to the man who will follow her at the 2012 Atlanta Jazz Fest, Roy Ayers.

Ms. Bertrand is also a prolific songwriter, having penned songs such as “Date Night”, from her latest album, which was inspired by President and Mrs. Obama and their efforts to keep their “dating” tradition going, even with the pressures of being the nation’s first family.  Kathleen also wrote a bouncy Samba influenced tune, called “Jazz in Piedmont Park”, a tribute to the AJF and the other jazz artists that you hear in the park.

Kathleen Bertrand is scheduled to appear at the 2012 Atlanta Jazz Festival main stage on Saturday, May 26 at 7 pm. She has a prime spot, following Cyrus Chestnut and preceding Mr. Ayers.  With her talent and this judicious placement on the schedule, perhaps Ms. Bertrand’s star will shine not only in Atlanta, but all over the jazz world.

For further information concerning Ms. Bertrand and her albums, please visit her website:

For further information about the 2012 Atlanta Jazz Festival, visit the festival’s website:

Atlanta Jazz Festival 2012 Preview – Cyrus Chestnut Trio

Posted in Atlanta Jazz Festival 2012, JazzLives!, The Jazz Continues... with tags , , on May 6, 2012 by curtjazz

Though it will be Saturday afternoon, there’s a good chance that we will begin the 35th Atlanta Jazz Festival “in church”, thanks to the first two artists.  Opening the Festival at 3 p.m. will be reedman Dwight Andrews, who in addition to his prowess on the saxophone and flute, is also known as Rev. Dr. Dwight Andrews – Senior Minister of Atlanta’s First Congregational Church.  We can expect the good Reverend Doctor, a Yale Music and Divinity grad, who is also an Emory University Music School Professor, to bring us some fine jazz with an ecumenical touch, such as in the clip below.

Dr. Andrews will be followed by the Cyrus Chestnut Trio. Mr. Chestnut has held a prominent position in the jazz piano world ever since he captured public imagination with his Atlantic Records debut Revelation, back in 1994.  Though Chestnut does not carry Dr. Andrews’ pastoral credentials, Chestnut’s playing has always had a very strong gospel influence, because of his deep church roots.  He has even included a non-secular track or two on most of his albums. In 2009, he went all the way, releasing the beautiful Spirit, a solo piano album of gospel tunes.  Last year, he returned to the trio format with Journeys.  His latest release is his first pure quartet date. It’s called, appropriately, The Cyrus Chestnut Quartet; it features the terrific young saxophonist, Stacy Dillard.

Mr. Chestnut and his trio are scheduled to hit the AJF mainstage at 5 p.m. I’ve seen him live a number of times and I’ve never been disappointed, he plays a bop/blues/gospel hybrid that is second to none.  If you’re planning on catching the Atlanta Jazz Festival on Saturday, May 26, make sure to get there in time for Cyrus Chestnut. He’ll leave you with a smile on your face and joy in your heart.

For further information about the 2012 Atlanta Jazz Festival, visit their website at

2012 Atlanta Jazz Festival – Get Ready!

Posted in Atlanta Jazz Festival 2012, JazzLives! with tags , on April 18, 2012 by curtjazz

Official 2012 Atlanta Jazz Festival Artwork by Corey Barksdale

You may recall that last May, I documented in this blog my family’s trip to the 34th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival. Last year, it was a spur of the moment decision that we made, based on the luck of our work schedules. The music was great and we had a great time, until my Sunday evening eye incident.

Well, this year we are well ahead of schedule. And I plan to carry plenty of insect repellent to keep nasty flying things out of my face. It’s a good thing, as the lineup is even stronger than last year’s.

First of all there’s an extra day of free music. Where the 2011 Festival had two free days; this year the free portion of the festival in Piedmont Park extends through Monday. And we will be there to catch every minute.

Here’s a look at this year’s lineup:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sunday, May 27

Monday, May 28

In addition to these artists on the Main Stage, there will also be a lot happening on the Atlanta International Jazz Stage, where some fine up and coming artists will be featured, such as bassist Omer Avital, vocalist/trombonist Saunders Sermons and trumpeter Melvin Jones, who set the house on fire on the main stage last year, in an appearance with vocalist Audrey Shakir.  The International Stage shows go on simultaneously with the Main Stage shows, but it’s definitely worth checking out at some point during the weekend.

And for those of you unfamiliar with the AJF, that was not a typo earlier, it is free.  One of the largest and finest free jazz festivals in the country, or even in the world.  So get there early, bring your lawn chair and your cooler and make a weekend of it.  I’ll be dropping blog posts regularly over the next six weeks, leading up to the festival, with further information about the artists. I’ll also be vlogging live from the festival, as we did last year.

For information about Piedmont Park, a full event schedule and hotel accommodation suggestions, visit the Atlanta Jazz Festival website.

Well see you in the ATL on May 26th!