Warren Wolf performing at AJF 2011

As the Memorial Day holiday grows closer so too does the 36th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival, featuring three full days of music in Piedmont Park and a number of auxiliary musical performances.

During the festival, Piedmont Park will be open from 11 am to 11 pm daily and admission to the festival is free. The family-friendly atmosphere will include a KidZone area, sponsored by Publix Super Markets, with interactive games 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.

“Music lovers are in for some incredible performances at the Atlanta Jazz Festival over Memorial Day Weekend,” said Camille Russell Love, Director of the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs, in a statement. “Please join us for one amazing weekend.”

During the festival’s three day overture, attendees will have the opportunity to see performances from artists like Tia Fuller, Jose James, Dominick Farinacci and many more. There will also be a number of performances outside of Piedmont Park, beginning on May 24 with an evening under the stars at Chastain Park Amphitheatre featuring BWB and special guest Chrisette Michele.

There will also be a Late Night Jazz Concert with Dionne Farris & Russell Gunn on May 26.

From May 25-27 Piedmont Park will be filled with sounds from most innovative young artists like José James, Gretchen Parlato, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Dominick Farinacci, Meshell Ndegeocello, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Tia Fuller, Jacob Deaton and Alexandra Jackson.

More details about the full lineup of jazz festival participants from the office of cultural affairs is below.

Concert @ Chastain Park Amphitheatre
One of this year’s hottest concerts will be an incredible evening 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. Grammy Award winning R&B and soul singer-songwriter Chrisette Michele is wowing audiences on her current tour and will release a new CD, Better, in June. Tickets are available at: http://www.ticketmaster.com.

Late Night Jazz Concert @ Loews Atlanta Hotel
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 http://www.ticketalternative.com.

AJF36 @ Piedmont Park
Beautiful Piedmont Park, located in the heart of midtown Atlanta, is the perfect setting for the festival over Memorial Day Weekend: May 25-27. The best and most convenient way to get there is on MARTA, with Midtown Station just blocks away. We love our pets, too, but they are not allowed in the park over the festival weekend.

Audiences will experience today’s “Next Generation” of Jazz artists on the Main Stage and the Georgia Lottery International Stage. Musical performances will range from traditional and straight-ahead to Jazz flavored with the rhythmic sounds of India, Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Israel and France.
Jazz Education Series workshops will be presented daily at Magnolia Hall from 11:30 am to 1 pm. Noted musicians and industry experts will host panels on the “Changing Face of Jazz,” including a discussion about female trailblazers and women’s evolving roles in Jazz, the progression of jazz styles over the years, and Jazz on the international stage. Admission is FREE and all ages are welcome.
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 Jazz Festival is presented by the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs, a division of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and 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.

You can find more information about the festival on Facebook at AtlantaJazzFestival or download the festival’s new mobile app for iPhone and Android. Interested parties can also visit the official web site at www.atlantafestivals.com for the latest schedules, news and information.

(Photo: Warren Wolf performing at AJF 2011 – photo by Robb D Cohen www.RobbsPhotos.com.JPG)

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