Atlanta, GA — “During the entire month of May we will celebrate the 36th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival,” states Camille Russell Love, Director of the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs. “This year’s theme is ‘Generation Next,’ and we’re presenting some of today’s most innovative emerging artists like José James, Gretchen Parlato, Meshell Ndegeocello, Dominick Farinacci, Aaron Diehl, Tia Fuller, Jacob Deaton, Julie Dexter and Ambrose Akinmusire. We’ll introduce exciting new artists like Alexandra Jackson and give youth jazz bands their first big break.
Beginning on May 1st and culminating with three days of music over Memorial Day Weekend, audiences will enjoy concerts in clubs, museums and parks around Atlanta. There will be something for every jazz lover’s taste from Latin jazz, swing, traditional straight-ahead and Afro-Cuban to jazz enlivened with neo-soul and R&B. Check out our web site at www.atlantafestivals.com for performance schedules. Join us this May for world-class jazz at the Atlanta Jazz Festival.”
Here’s an overview of the concerts and activities for this year’s Atlanta Jazz Festival:
31 Days of Jazz
Highlights of this year’s May concerts include Jazz for Kids JazzFest at the Rialto Center for the Arts on May 7; Martinis & IMAX at Fernbank Museum of Natural History on May 10; Jazz and Cocktails in the Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Garden on May 16; The Miles Davis Tribute at Churchill Grounds hosted by WRFG 89.3 on May 19; the Groovin at Noon Jazz Series in the Mall at Peachtree Center on May 10, 17 & 24; and Jazz Under The Stars at Lee Street Park hosted by the City of Jonesboro on May 31.
Neighborhood Jazz Series
Fast becoming a festival favorite is this concert series which takes place in neighborhood parks around Atlanta on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Venues and dates are: John A. White Park from 4-8 pm on May 4, Gordon White Park from 4-8 pm on May 5, Perkerson Park from 4-8 pm on May 11, Grove Park from 4-8 pm on May 18 and McClatchey Park from 4-7 pm on May 19.
Concert @ Chastain Park Amphitheatre
One of this year’s hottest concerts will be an incredible evening under the stars at Chastain Park Amphitheatre on Friday, May 24 @ 7:30 pm starring BWB with special guest Chrisette Michele. Ten years after the highly successful release of Groovin’, the men of BWB are reuniting with a new album and tour this summer. Comprised of Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown, their musical passion and groove intensity defines the truest heart and soul of today’s contemporary jazz.
Tickets are available at: www.ticketmaster.com.
Late Night Jazz Concert
The highly anticipated annual concert and party will take place on Sunday, May 26 @ 10 pm at the Loews Atlanta Hotel. This year’s concert features Dionne Farris with The Russell Gunn Quartet. Singer Dionne has performed and recorded hip-hop, pop, soul, gospel, and modern R&B, and now adds jazz to her repertoire. A certified member of the hip-hop generation, Russell’s early aspirations in the world of rap music took precedence over the trumpet that he began playing in fourth grade. When he reached sixteen, the deadline he set for his hip-hop career to take off, his dedication to jazz took shape. Grammy-winning vocalist Dionne Farris and Grammy-nominated trumpeter Russell Gunn recently got together to create a special musical project and embark on a new journey. Now you can experience it live. Tickets are on sale at www.ticketalternative.com.
Youth Jazz Band Competition
The 10thAnnual Youth Jazz Band Competition was held on March 23rd at Georgia State University’s Kopleff Recital Hall in partnership with the Georgia State University School of Music. Some of Atlanta’s most talented young musicians competed. The top six bands will perform as opening acts each day at the festival over Memorial Day Weekend in Piedmont Park. The 1st through 3rd Place bands were awarded scholarships and an opening slot on the Main Stage. An additional three opportunities were awarded to the 4th through 6th Place bands to play on the International Stage. Scholarships for this year’s competition were made possible by generous sponsorship of Bank of America.
AJF36 @ Piedmont Park
Piedmont Park, located in the heart of midtown Atlanta, is the perfect setting for the festival over Memorial Day Weekend: May 25-27. The historic site includes meadows, tennis courts, a swimming pool, gardens and a picturesque lake. It is conveniently located near numerous hotels and inns, and is within walking distance of some of the city’s best restaurants. MARTA, Atlanta’s rapid transit system, is just blocks away.
The festival will present three days of music on two stages with some of today’s most vibrant national and international performers including Rudresh Mahanthappa, Uri Gurvich, Aruán Ortiz, Ginou, Rio Negro, Miguel Zenón and Cécile McLorin Salvant. Audiences will experience unique musical performances with influences from India, Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Israel and France.
Jazz Education Workshops will be presented daily at Magnolia Hall from 11 am to 1 pm. Noted musicians and industry experts will host panels on a variety of interesting topics including the history of jazz, women’s roles in the evolution of Jazz, and different genres of Jazz. All ages are welcome.
During the festival, Piedmont Park will be open from 11 am to 11 pm daily. Admission is FREE. The family-friendly atmosphere will include a KidZone area, sponsored by Publix Super Markets, with games, inflatables and activities. Shopping will be available in booths displaying unique art, clothing and jewelry. A variety of food vendors will tempt your taste buds with BBQ, gyros, burgers, Caribbean foods and more!
Sponsors for this year’s festival are PNC Bank, The Coca-Cola Company, the Georgia Lottery, Celebrity Cruises, Publix Super Markets, Bank of America, England Piano, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, Federal Home Loan Bank-ATL, MARTA, Loews Atlanta Hotel and id8. Media partners include: the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists, Atlanta Daybook, Candid Jazz Blast, Black Enterprise, iRock Jazz, atlantajazz.info, 1380 News & Talk WAOK, V-103, In Contact, Atlanta Inquirer, Atlanta Tribune, JS108-atlanta.com, Majic 107.5, JazzTimes, Rolling Out, WOWNOW and WRFG 89.3 FM.
The 36th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival is presented by the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs, a division of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs. The Atlanta Jazz Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural organization whose mission is to educate and entertain a diverse audience of jazz fans and to nurture the next generation of jazz musicians. Join us on Facebook at AtlantaJazzFestival , download our new mobile app for iPhone and Android, and visit the official web site at www.atlantafestivals.com for the latest schedules, news and information.