The John Coltrane International Jazz & Blues Festival held on September 1st -2nd began with the Coltrane Youth Jazz Workshop. Every year they are always the festival openers. Following them were the 2018 Coltrane Jazz All Stars spearheaded by the director of Jazz Ensemble at North Carolina A&T State University Mondre Moffett. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band from New Orleans had the crowd on their feet with their funky big band grooves. Grammy nominated Jazzmeia Horn blew onlookers away with her incredible jazz vocals. The rain made its way in and even caused a brief break in the performances, but in the end it didn’t stop the music. Renowned guitarist Lee Ritenhour was everything fans expected. Gregory Porter graced the stage with his fabulous band and flawless vocals to end the evening. It was the perfect finale to a day of incredible music. The last day of the festival included vocalist and guitar player Jackie Venson, Michelle and Ravi Coltrane, Diane Reeves, and Pete Escovedo with Sheila E.
Terri Lyne Carrington had a childhood that afforded her the opportunity to know and work with jazz musicians including her father, Sonny Carrington–a saxophonist. There is no doubt that it was Terry’s destiny to have a substantial and rewarding career in music. She is full of creative energy that propels her to be a consummate professional and musician who is driven to complete tangible pieces of work. In the midst of it all, Carrington also maintainins a career as a professor at Berklee in Boston. Throughout her illustrious career, she has collaborated with just about everyone in the business from Stan Getz to Herbie Hancock; that’s just to name a small few. Terri was honored by her peers and won a Grammy in 2011 for The Mosaic Project. With that project, she worked with and celebrated talented women. She believes that to be successful in this business, you have to know that it is a puzzle, and you have to have all the pieces in order to be truly successful. It’s about longevity and maintaining it and always being ready when the door opens. She is such a smart woman and musician that after reading a book about Duke Ellington, she decided to pay tribute to him by recording Money Jungle: Proactive in Blue last year. Terri hopes to “aspire to inspire.” Although she’s been producing for a while, she enjoys the fact that it puts her in the driver’s seat, allowing her room to create. Recently, she produced Dianne Reeves’ latest album, Beautiful Life, and worked with saxophonist Tia Fuller to produce her future project. On the horizon for Terri is Mosiac 2 which fans can be assured will be a masterpiece.
Terri and I briefly chat about her successful career:
The 3rd annual Sunset Jazz Festival–held in Atlanta, GA–did once again raise the bar. I’ve attended the jazz festival all three years, and I’m always enamored by the line-up and even more so by their performances. Tucked beautifully away and where all the magic happens is Chastain Park. It is by far one of the best outdoor venues I’ve seen. The list of performers this year included chart-topping, Grammy-award-winning artists. Jonathan Butler, who recently released “Living My Dream,” shared the stage with Norman Brown and Alex Bugnon also know as the Summer Love Tour. They were followed by the lady of the evening, Grammy winner Dianne Reeves. She too recently released a new album titled “Beautiful Life.” As the sun faded and night fell over the park, Brian Culbertson lit up the stage with an electrifying performance that had everyone on their feet. Culbertson’s latest album, “Another Long Night Out,” is quite indicative of how an evening at the Sunset Jazz Festival feels–a long night out and certainly a night to remember. Headlining for the evening was the man with a sax that everyone loves: Boney James. Boney delivered everything and more of what his fans love.
The producer of the Sunset Jazz Festival–amongst other titles–Kyle Newport has created an event that is not to be missed. Each year, he exceeds expectations and brings forth a show that is unlike any other. With so many choices for jazz lovers to choose from, no matter where you’re from, the Sunset Jazz Festival is one you don’t want to miss.