Jazz Arts Initiative Brings Syncopation to Charlotte

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Jazz has always occupied an interesting spot in American music. It encompasses many different famous styles, and today it often finds new life through fusion into modern music. Even as other genres cropped up and outgrew its popularity, jazz continued along at its own unique pace. It’s a consistency fitting of the music’s laid-back attitude.

Most Americans associate jazz with New Orleans, and rightfully so. The city is synonymous with the style, which thrives in a culture thoroughly intertwined with its history. Few know how much the Carolinas have contributed to one of the United States’ signature styles though; Jazz great John Coltrane grew up in High Point, NC, while Dizzy Gillespie grew up in South Carolina, just to name a couple.

The first annual Charlotte Classic Jazz Festival, created by the Jazz Arts Initiative (JAI), hopes to raise awareness about jazz in the Queen City. Lonnie Davis, president of JAI, called jazz “America’s classical music,” and stressed the necessity of spreading it’s influence outside of New Orleans. If anyone knows the importance of jazz it’s Davis, who grew up in The Big Easy while studying at The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and New Orleans University before being displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

JAI currently organizes a monthly concert series called “The Jazz Room,” which highlights regional jazz musicians while also paying tribute to the style’s originators. According to Davis, “The Jazz Room” has been extremely successful, and its warm reception helped cultivate a desire to expand what JAI offers the Charlotte community.

The Charlotte Classic Jazz Festival takes place on Oct. 4, and begins at 11 a.m. Events during the day are free to the public including introductions to jazz aimed at a younger audience and a parade running from the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets to the Knight Theater. The festival continues at 7 p.m. with a showcase at the Knight Theater; tickets are $5. The event was also recently expanded to include a performance on Oct. 7 at Belk Theater in the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

Read more here: http://nineronline.com/2014/10/jazz-arts-initiative-brings-syncopation-to-charlotte/
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