Archive for atlanta jazz festival piedmont park

On JAZZ LIVES!!! May 26: LIVE Atlanta Jazz Festival Preview Show

Posted in Atlanta Jazz Festival 2016, JazzLives! with tags , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2016 by curtjazz

Johns Press PassI’ve covered the Atlanta Jazz Festival (AJF) since 2011 for Jazz Inside Magazine and for my own CurtJazz.com blog. And this year will be no exception. So, on the next edition of JAZZ LIVES!!!, Thursday, May 26th on Charlotte Community Radio from 6:00pm to 9:00pm, I will feature tracks by the artists who are scheduled to appear at this year’s AJF.

The AJF is the largest free jazz festival in the Southeast. It has been a part of The ATL’s Memorial Day Weekend celebration since the late 70’s. And beginning this Friday, May 27th, the 39th edition of the AJFwill kick off in its usual location, Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. It runs through Sunday, May 29th.

Performances will take place on three separate stages: the Locals Stage will feature Atlanta area favorites such as vocalist Alex Lattimore and pianist Joe Alterman. The International Stage will have well-known jazz headliners from outside of the U.S., such as Caribbean trumpeter Etienne Charles and renowned Brazilian pianist Eliane Elias. The Main Stage features its usual combination of up and coming stars and legends, with super group Next Collective, Grammy-winning vocalist Gregory Porter and the venerable saxophonist Benny Golson leading a very impressive lineup.

Alex Lattimore

Alex Lattimore

My May 26th show is designed to get those heading to the festival in the mood for the great weekend of music ahead. But be warned – with the great cuts I plan on playing and with Atlanta being a short car ride away from Charlotte, you may be inspired to change your weekend plans and join us in Piedmont Park. If you do, stop by and say “Hello”!


JAZZ LIVES!!!
with CurtJazz, airing LIVE every Thursday from 6:00pm to 9:00pm viaCharlotteCommunityRadio.orgCLTCRadio.org OR use the Mixlr app where you can listen and chat with our hosts and guests alike.

Atlanta Jazz Festival 2014: Preview – Saturday on the Main Stage

Posted in Atlanta Jazz Festival 2014 with tags , , , , , , , on May 22, 2014 by curtjazz
Christian Scott

Christian Scott

The 2014 Atlanta Jazz Festival kicks off its first full day on the Main Stage with performances by artists from the less
traditional side of the fence. They include a Ethiopian-Israeli jazz funk vocalist; a veteran trumpeter leading a group that will mix jazz and Krunk and finally a young trumpet star who has for the past decade been a leader in the fusion of jazz with 21st Century musical styles. Purists may turn-up their noses but I think that Saturday has the potential to be one of the most musically compelling days on the AJF Main Stage in a long while.

The full Atlanta Jazz Festival Main Stage Schedule for Saturday, May 24:

1:00 pm The Tri-Cities High School Jazz Band – The Youth Jazz Band Competition allows young jazz musicians from all over the metropolitan area the opportunity to showcase their talent. Three winners are selected to receive a financial contribution to their music program and a guaranteed spot to perform on the Atlanta Jazz Festival Main Stage.  The Tri-Cities High School Jazz Band finished second in the competition and will open the Main Stage performances on Saturday.

3:00 pm Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra – The Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra was founded in the June 2011 by its Director, Dr. Gordon Vernick.  The RYJO program consists of 1 large jazz ensemble and 5 jazz combos.  Last year participating high school students came from the following counties: Fulton, Cobb, Dekalb, Gwinnett, Clayton, and Fayette. The students are selected through auditions.

5:00 pm Ester Rada – Ester Rada is an Israeli born Ethiopian vocalist whose sound  gracefully combin[es] Ethio-Jazz, Urban-funk, Neo-Soul and R&B, with mixed undertones of black grooves”.  Growing up in a highly religious Jewish family in modest conditions in Israel, gave Rada the drive to change her way of life and fulfill her dream of creating music.

And yes, her sound is as unusually cool and hip as you would expect from someone with her pedigree. The buzz around Ms. Rada began with
the release of her self composed/produced EP, Life Happens, last year. The tracks that make up Life Happens also appear on her recently released eponymous full length project.

Ms. Rada names Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill as her major influences and I hear traces of all of those divas in her performances. People may argue about her “jazz cred” but frankly, I don’t give a damn, she is exciting to listen to and watch. Be there!

7:00 pm Russell Gunn’s Krunk Jazz Orchestra – Mr.  Gunn is a veteran of many appearances at the AJF and he consistently surprises us every year with a new and interesting twist to his sound. This year Russell Gunn brings us the Krunk Jazz Orchestra, an aggregation that is likely intended as an amalgam of various jazz styles with that beat driven synthesizer heavy style of hip hop, known as “Crunk” (or “Krunk”) that is popular in the South.  Gunn’s 2006 album Krunk Jazz should give you an idea of what to expect when he hits the stage.

I know that I (and many others of a certain age) will need Icy Hot or a similar type of product on Sunday as a precursor to the visits to the chiropractor that we will all need next week from all of the spontaneous and violent head nodding that we will engage in while Gunn drops his groove. It will be well worth it.

9:00 pm Christian Scott – Though Christian Scott is not a known purveyor of “Krunk Jazz”, per se; he definitely works the same side of the street as Mr. Gunn, favoring musical styles that owe as much to jazz traditions as they do the sounds of hip hop and other currently popular musical styles. Mr. Scott, who now also goes by the name Christian aTunde Adjuah (in tribute to his ancestors), set the jazz world on fire in 2006 with the release of Rewind That, his major label debut. Rewind That was exciting because so many things were happening on each track. You heard Scott’s deep New Orleans Jazz roots, his Milesian influence, a bit of Coldplay style rock and an insistent hip hop based underpinning. Each was fighting to be heard and when all elements hit at the same time, something totally fresh and new happened.

Mr. Scott has continued down that stylistic path on most of his subsequent recordings. He has never let go of what he learned from his mentors such as his uncle saxophonist Donald Harrison, but he has also definitively refused to let himself get stuck in a retro-jazz rut. His most recent recorded project, Christian aTunde Adjuah,  is a 2 disc set that has given Scott the space to bring many of his new “stretch music” ideas to the forefront. I’m sure we will hear some of those on Saturday night. And I will make every effort to avoid spontaneous eye infections and catch this set, unlike 2011.

For further information about the 2014 Atlanta Jazz Festival, visit their website at  http://atlantafestivals.com/

 

 

 

 

2013 Atlanta Jazz Festival – Hate To Miss It but We’ll Be Back

Posted in Atlanta Jazz Festival 2013 with tags , , , , , on May 24, 2013 by curtjazz
Layers by Charly Palmer - signature artwork of the 2013 Atlanta Jazz Festival

Layers by Charly Palmer – signature artwork of the 2013 Atlanta Jazz Festival

It’s funny how something can become a part of you so quickly.

I had never attended the Atlanta Jazz Festival before 2011. But after having been at the last two, it had already become something that just felt right on Memorial Day Weekend –  the crowds, the atmosphere, spending quality time with my family and of course, the great music. As 2012 gave way to 2013, the 36th AJF was definitely marked on my calendar.

Then, as many of you know, I faced some unexpected health problems earlier this year. I am recovering quite well, thanks to God and my doctors but my initial recuperation made for some challenges of the kind we didn’t expect, in the area of time off from our “real jobs” to be in Atlanta all weekend.

So my wife and I talked it over and we very reluctantly decided to take this year off from the AJF. It’s scheduled to start tomorrow and man, it feels weird not to be packing a bag and prepping to head to Atlanta in a few hours. It has also felt a little odd to not write my series of festival preview articles for this blog over the last couple of weeks.

So here’s the schedule for the weekend. Kudos to those who program the AJF because the schedule gets stronger and more relevant each year. If you’re a jazz fan and in the ATL this weekend you have to go. And as usual, the AJF events at Piedmont Park are free.

Save me a spot on the lawn and in the hospitality tent because CurtJazz and the crew will be back at Piedmont Park in 2014!

36th Atlanta Jazz Festival – Piedmont Park May 25 – 27, 2013

Saturday, May 25

Main Stage

  • 1pm – Stephenson High School Jazz Ensemble
  • 3pm – Aaron Diehl Quartet
  • 5pm – Alexandra Jackson
  • 7pm – Meshell Ndegeocello
  • 9pm – Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet

International Stage

  • 2pm – Tri-Cities High School Jazz Band
  • 3:30pm – Aruán Ortiz Quartet
  • 5:00pm – Rio Negro
  • 6:30pm – Cécile McLorin Salvant

Sunday, May 26

Main Stage

  • 1pm – North Atlanta Center for The Arts Jazz Band
  • 3pm – Rialto Jazz for Kids All Star Jazz Band
  • 5pm – Jacob Deaton and the Tribulaton Band
  • 7pm – Gretchen Parlato
  • 9pm – Tia Fuller

International Stage

  • 3:30pm – J. C. Young Middle School Jazz Ensemble
  • 5:00pm – Ginou Oriol
  • 6:30pm – Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Gamak

Monday, May 27

Main Stage

  • 1pm – Benjamin Mays High School Jazz Orchestra
  • 3pm – Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra
  • 5pm – Julie Dexter
  • 7pm – The Dominick Farinacci Group
  • 9pm – José James

International Stage

  • 3:30pm – The Westlake High School Jazz Ensemble
  • 5:00pm – Uri Gurvich Quartet
  • 6:30pm – The Miguel Zenón Quartet