For almost 40 years, the Atlanta Jazz Festival has been on a mission to "expose and entertain a diverse audience of Jazz aficionados, young Jazz enthusiasts and aspiring musicians to the rich heritage and variety of Jazz as an authentic form of American music." Showcasing both local and national jazz artists on three stages, the FREE three-day event takes place during Memorial Day Weekend (May 22nd-24th) in Atlanta's famed Piedmont Park. Past performers have included jazz luminaries like Lionel Hampton, Sarah Vaughn, Miles Davis, Dizzie Gillespie, Nina Simone and Herbie Hancock as well as future legends like Esperanza Spalding and Robert Glasper Experiment. The festival is designed to appeal to the whole family and will include shopping, a kids zone and various other activities throughout the weekend.
This year's festival lineup features a diverse group of artists, including Thundercat, Lil’ John Roberts and his All Star Jam Band, Russell Gunn, Derrick Hodge, Otis Brown III, Mad Satta, Nettwork Trio, Dida Pelled, Pharoah Sanders Quartet featuring Kurt Rosenwinkel, Diane Schuur, Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and Alfredo Rodriguez. In what is turning out to be The Year of Nina Simone, one of the festival highlights is sure to be Four Women: A Tribute to Nina Simone featuring Kathleen Bertrand, Julie Dexter, Rhonda Thomas and Terry Harper.
Because they seek to educate and entertain a wide array of jazz fans and to nurture the next generation of jazz musicians, AJF is taking ownership of the entire month of May with 31 Days of Jazz. The series, which kicked off on May 1st with a concert by Canadian jazz hop trio BADBADNOTGOOD, includes a variety of events such as MARTA Mondays, Neighborhood Jazz Series, a screening of the film One Night with Blue Note and a Jazz Crawl. Click here for a full calendar of events.
Take a look at the official PSA featuring Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, then visit the website for additional details. Follow Atlanta Jazz Festival updates on Twitter and Facebook, and be sure to check out the AJF SoundCloud and YouTube pages for some great music and past performance clips.