Atlanta Jazz Festival is returning for its 38th year this coming Memorial Day Weekend. Held outdoors in midtown’s Piedmont Park, the three-day extravaganza will feature a variety of performers spanning the globe that promise to stretch the boundaries of America’s oldest and purest form of black music.
Performers slated to take one of the three stages include guitarist and pianist Stanley Jordan, drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts, vocalist Diane Schuur, Cuban pianist and bandleader Alfredo Rodriguez, tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, bassist Thundercat and pianist and composer Arturo O’Farrill and his Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra among others.
Female performers Kathleen Bertrand, Julie Dexter, Rhonda Thomas and Terry Harper will pay tribute to the “High Priestess of Soul” Nina Simone on the main stage on Sunday afternoon.
This year also marks a new partnership between Atlanta Jazz Festival and the iconic Blue Note Records. To celebrate this development, Saturday’s main stage is being headlined by Blue Note recording artists Marcus Strickland and his band, Twi Life, drummer Otis Brown III and Grammy-winning composer and bassist Derrick Hodge.
Following the daytime activities are two late night concerts at Park Tavern, adjacent to the Piedmont Park stages. Trumpeter Russell Gunn is putting on a tribute to Miles Davis Friday night while sought after drummer Lil’ John Roberts and his All Star Jam Band will grace the stage the following evening.
Atlanta Jazz Festival sets out to entertain diverse fans of jazz and to educate future generations of jazz musicians. The city builds momentum for the festive weekend with “31 Days of Jazz,” which features youth band competitions, film screenings, venue crawls and performances spanning the entire metro Atlanta community.
Atlanta Jazz Festival will take place from May 22-24, 2015. Click here for a full schedule of events.
This post was written by Christopher A. Daniel, pop cultural critic and music editor for the BurtonWire. He is also contributing writer for Urban Lux Magazine and Blues & Soul Magazine. Follow Christopher @Journalistorian on Twitter.