For 39 years, major contributors to Savannah’s Jazz history have been inducted each year during the Annual Savannah Jazz Festival. This year’s Savannah Safe Jazz Festival was held Wednesday through Sunday, September 23-27, 2020 at the Ships of the Sea Museum. According to CDC rules, social distancing was in place and the festival was live streamed around the world. Among the 42 members of the Savannah Jazz Hall of Fame, some of the most notable include: Joe “King” Oliver, Johnny Mercer, James Moody, Irene Reid, Jabbo Smith, Trummy Young, Connie Haines, and Joe Riley. Candidates are selected based on having over 15 years of living and making contributions to Savannah’s Jazz History.
The 2020 inductees are: Tom Glaser, Dr. Charles J. Elmore, and Eric Jones.
Co-founder of the Coastal Jazz Association (now Savannah Jazz), Tom Glaser served as it’s first president from 1982-1984. Through his leadership, the first two Savannah Jazz Festivals were funded and produced, setting the pattern for the next 38 years.
Dr. Charles J. Elmore, Sr., a native Savannahian, is a retired professor emeritus of humanities, and former head of the mass communications department at Savannah State University where he taught for thirty five years.
Eric Jones, who was born in Moultrie, Georgia, and started to play piano by ear at the age of five. At 11, Eric began studying trumpet and went on to pursue his education at Armstrong Atlantic State University, studying under Dr. Kevin Hampton, graduating with a B.A. in Piano.
Mayor Van Johnson presented the 2020 Hall of Fame inductees on Saturday during the festival.