“The 36th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival will shine a spotlight on the wealth of emerging talent in the jazz world as we celebrate Generation Next,” states Camille Russell Love, Director of the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs. “We have always presented the best and brightest on the scene and this year we continue that mission with a focus on where jazz is right now and where it’s heading. Audiences will enjoy a wide spectrum of styles from traditional straight-ahead, Latin jazz and swing to jazz flavored with neo-soul, hip-hop, R&B and world music. As technology brings us closer, musicians are collaborating from all corners of the globe and we’re entering a new age of jazz. Join us as we present some of todays’ most vibrant and innovative jazz artists including Cécile McLorin Salvant, Dominick Farinacci, Meshell Ndegeocello, José James, Tia Fuller, Aruán Ortiz, Gretchen Parlato, and Rudresh Mahanthappa. Come experience three exhilarating days of FREE music over Memorial Day Weekend (May 25-27) in historic Piedmont Park.”
Here’s information on eight of the incredible artists who’ll be performing in Piedmont Park from May 25-27:
The men of BWB (Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown) are reuniting with a new album and tour this summer. They will appear with special guest Chrisette Michele, Friday, May 24 at Chastain Park Amphitheatre. Their musical passion and groove intensity defines the truest heart and soul of today’s contemporary jazz. Look for their new album to be released on Concord Records later this summer.
On her latest CD, BETTER, Chrisette Michele sounds confident and composed even when laying her heart on the line. Michele showcases her renewed faith in love. “Being able to sing these songs is about the ability to love again,” she says.
Singer Cécile McLorin Salvant was born and raised in Miami of a French mother and a Haitian father. She started classical piano studies at 5, and began singing in the Miami Choral Society at 8. In 2007, Cécile moved to France to study law, classical and baroque voice at the Darius Milhaud Conservatory. It was with reedist and teacher Jean-François Bonnel that she started learning improvisation and expanded her vocal repertoire from the 1910’s onward. In 2009, after a series of concerts in Paris, she recorded her first album, Cécile. A year later, she won the Thelonious Monk competition in Washington D.C. Cécile sings jazz standards and original songs. She has performed at numerous festivals such as Jazz à Vienne, Whitley Bay in England, Montauban in France, the Spoleto Jazz Festival and the Detroit Jazz Festival, and with Wynton Marsalis at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, at Chicago’s Symphony Center, as well as with her own band at the Kennedy Center.
Trumpeter Dominick Farinacci is a world-class musician with nine recordings and countless U.S. and international tours to his credit. His repertoire includes fresh interpretations of classics by Ornette Coleman, Astor Piazzolla and Billie Holiday and well as self-penned originals.
A bass player above all else, Meshell Ndegeocello brings her signature warmth and groove to everything she does and has appeared alongside the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Alanis Morrisette, James Blood Ulmer, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Tony Allen, John Medeski, John Mellencamp, Billy Preston, and Chaka Khan. As for her own bass-playing influences, she credits Sting, Jaco Pastorius, Family Man Barrett, and Stevie Wonder. Meshell was the first woman to be featured on the cover of Bass Player Magazine and is one of few women who write the music and lead the band.
Singer José James has established himself as a trailblazer for his intoxicating blend of jazz, hip-hop, R&B and electronica. His 2008 debut The Dreamer and its 2010 follow-up, BlackMagic – both produced by the world-renowned DJ Gilles Peterson – transformed the Minneapolis-born, New York-based singer into an underground sensation in both the modern jazz and DJ culture scenes.
Saxophonist, composer and bandleader Tia Fuller’s third release on Mack Avenue Records, Angelic Warrior, marks her musical evolution. After five years in Beyoncé’s band, the pop diva’s attention to detail in the studio rubbed off on Fuller. And as the Assistant Musical Director for Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society touring band, Fuller fully applies pop and jazz chops.
Aruán Ortiz is a critically acclaimed Cuban pianist, an award-winning composer, and a solid producer and educator, both on the New York scene and internationally. Named “the latest Cuban wunderkind to arrive in the United States” by BET Jazz, the classically trained violist and pianist from Santiago de Cuba simply considers himself “a curious person who loves music.” His music is an architectural structure of sounds, incorporating contemporary classical music, Afro-Cuban rhythms and improvisation. Since arriving in New York in 2008, Aruán has made five recordings, all well received by the critics. Alameda (2010), received four stars in Jazzwise Magazine (U.K.), and was reviewed as “a sophisticated outing of modern jazz.” The modern jazz effort, Orbiting (2012) received 4.5 stars from Downbeat Magazine. His latest CD is Banned in London (2012). Bill Milkowski from JazzTimes Magazine recently proclaimed Aruán’s work as “the arrival of a major new talent.”
Tickets go on sale this Friday, April 5 at 10 a.m. at http://www.ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.