I n response to the City of Savannah’ s immediate moratorium on large outdoor events to mitigate the spread of COVID, the Savannah Jazz Festival is proud to comply by hosting our second consecutive safe Savannah Jazz Festival. The alternative venue at Savannah Station is designed to meet the dual goals of presenting world-class jazz and blues free of charge to the City of Savannah while adhering to the guidelines of promoting the health and safety of our musicians, attendees, sponsors, and suppliers. The Savannah Jazz Festival will go on with the shows as if presented in Forsyth Park at Savannah Station in partnership with The City of Savannah, WSAV, and Dick Radio Broadcasting.
Festival Director, Paula Fogarty says, “In our 2021 planning we’ve been vigilant in preparing for both the best-case and worst-case scenarios and have remained entirely sensitive to the need for flexibility in planning publicly funded events during this pandemic.
We will announce how the public can access free tickets (in limited numbers) over our website in the coming days. Our intent is to adhere to State, City, and CDC guidelines to ensure the health and safety of all people associated with the production of the event.”
Fogarty explains, “We were prepared for another wave of the COVID-19 virus and planned accordingly in partnership with the city in the early days of the creation of our contract with the City. We are 100% dedicated to delivering worldclass blues and jazz music to the world. We will be moving to Savannah Station and offering raffle tickets soon for people to win tickets to our free festival to be fair to all. The number of tickets and seating is still to be determined so I encourage everyone to visit our website and our Savannah Jazz Festival Facebook and Instagram pages.”
Last year’s livestreamed festival reached over 175,000 people worldwide, showing the City of Savannah and Savannah Jazz on the leading edge in delivering live performances to the widest audience in the festival’s history, thanks to our partnerships with the City of Savannah and WSAV as presenting sponsors.
“While the anticipation of a live festival this year has been greater than ever applaud and support the mayor’s decisions to try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We are ready to keep the music playing and encourage everyone to tune in or win tickets to the shows that will be available soon on savannahjazz.org.”
With restricted attendance will come limited services, but attendees will still enjoy food trucks, a full bar, and world-class performances featuring several Grammy award-winning artists.
This year’s headliners include Gramm y-award-winning, Charleston, SC-based, Ranky Tanky accompanied by Savannah Jazz Hall of Fame member, Quentin Baxter, on drums. Their timeless music is born of the Gullah culture of our region’s Sea Islands. Their eponymously titled debut album soared to #1 on the Billboard, Amazon, and iTunes Jazz Charts.
The Savannah Divas backed by the Savannah Jazz Orchestra headline Saturday night showcasing our region’s jazz superstars. Priscilla Albergottie Williams, Cynthia Utterbach a New Jersey native has performed around the world in the musical production “The Buddy Holly Story” and Stephanie Nakasian, who recently adopted Savannah as her hometown, These ladies will front the 17-piece Savannah Jazz Orchestra that will play again for the first time since the 2019 Festival.
Jazz bass legend, John Lee, joins us with special guest, and Grammy award-winning pianist, Lawrence Hobgood.
Grant Green Jr. is joining us for his first Savannah appearance. He’s toured the world from an early age and was based in NYC for many years where he played with the Godfathers of Groove with Bernard Purdie.
Georgia blues man Robert Lee Coleman brings his uniquely southern take on the blues. Coleman played guitar for Percy Sledge from 1964 to 1969. In 1970, James Brown hired him for his new band, “the JBs.” Robert’s guitar is featured on Brown’s album Hot Pants, including the songs Revolution of the Mind, recorded live at the Apollo Theater & Make It Funky from the “Soul Classics” LP.
Manager Harvey Dalton Arnold had this to say about Robert Lee Coleman. “I’ve had the honor of playing with Robert Lee Coleman in the States and in Europe. He’s a real treasure of the authentic American Blues born in our South. I love a tune called “Real Motha for Ya”, but Robert Lee is best when he just grabs a groove out of the air and takes off. You gotta keep your eye on him and be ready for anything!”
Piano sensation Kenny Banks, Jr., a tribute to America’s great military bands features perhaps the top big band The U.S. Navy Band Commodores.
Headlining Blues night is female guitar and vocal sensation Ana Popovic. This Serbian-born blues lady has toured Europe and the Americas for 20 years. Terry “Doc” Handy is a seasoned percussionist skilled in a diverse array of genres including Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, and Latin Jazz. Doc has also been selected as the opening performance for many greats including James Brown, and Aaron Neville.
Regional performers include Eric Culberson, Savannah Jazz Hall of Fame Band, Savannah State’s Gospel Choir, and others.
. For all information visit www.savannahjazz.org.