Letter to the Editor: 2018 Jazz Festival

Thank you to The Savannah Tribune for your coverage and promotional support of the 2018 Savannah Jazz Festival that was, by most any measure, the most successful since its founding by the Coastal Jazz Association (CJA) in the early 1980s. This annual celebration has rightly earned Savannah the reputation as the premier free, week-long jazz festival in the country, attracting visitors and residents in record numbers (this year an estimated 40,000) with over 300 hotel rooms booked.

Hosting diverse audiences of young and old, black and white, immigrant and native born, rich and poor—the festival featured an astounding variety of performances and styles of jazz that highlighted our talented local musicians as well as national and international performers. They included the Latin Dance Party, emerging blues stars, Bernie Williams, Ben Tucker Alumni, and the world premiere of Chuck Leavell’s Chuck Gets Big album performance with the acclaimed Savannah Jazz Orchestra. Also shown was Clint Eastwood’s acclaimed documentary on Savannah native Johnny Mercer, the legendary jazz singer-songwriter.

Much credit is due to the extraordinary volunteer leadership of CJA president Howard Paul and professional excellence by executive director Paula Fogarty and coordinator Courtney Hester as well as over 90 volunteers including the CJA board. And without the support of the City of Savannah along with corporate and business sponsors and philanthropic individuals and foundations, it would not be possible to have staged such a successful festival.

As one of its co-founders and first president, I am so proud of the enduring impact of the Coastal Jazz Association. The Festival is about so much more than putting on performances; it is about improving the quality of life in our community and uniting all races and classes peacefully through Jazz, America’s unique musical art form.

Tom Glaser Savannah, Georgia

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