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Submitted by: Seymour Kushner
The South has always been responsible for revolutions of all kinds. The rich and often tragic history of the region gave rise to some of America’s most treasured musical traditions. Every year, music fans from all over the world visit Savannah, Georgia for the Savannah Jazz Festival. Both international and local Jazz and Blues musicians come together to celebrate the music and history of Jazz.
Thanks to the Coastal Jazz Association, the Savannah Jazz Festival is mostly free to the public and all of the events are at local venues, the biggest of which is Forsyth Park. The massive, live oak-lined public park is large enough for crowds to gather in front of the stage or picnic on the lawn. You can even cruise local craft booths and sample dishes and drinks from local restaurants as you jive along to the tunes.
From its beginning, the goal of the Savannah Jazz Festival has been to promote one of the most genuine and original of America’s art forms. Jazz is thought by many to be the national classical music of America. Certainly, jazz is at the root of every modern form of American music. Thanks to the work of the Coastal Jazz Association of Savannah, all generations can either newly discover or rediscover the joy that is jazz.
Jazz and blues musicians from all parts of the globe and down the block have come to Savannah for the past 28 years to perform in front of thousands of appreciative music lovers over the course of one week. Artists like James Brown and The Deborah Brown Quartet perform in the same venues and at the same time as local and regional musicians drawn from the southern states. All generations of jazz fans and musicians come to the festival to become involved in this lively musical scene. No one can resist the sound of a blaring trombone accompanied by that steady backbeat peculiar to jazz.
If you are of the musical persuasion, bring your instrument, any instrument to the festival and join in a jam session with your fellow musicians. Jam sessions are a regularly scheduled part of the festival every year. It is the one place that you can perform your music in front of huge audiences along with legendary musicians of jazz. The Savannah Jazz Festival will provide you with lifelong memories year after year.
The local restaurants and businesses take part in the celebration all week long. Taste some of Savannah’s finest while chilling out to some fine jazz and blues. The Blowin’ smoke BBQ is the sponsor of many of the events. Blues and BBQ under the stars is nothing but pure heaven on a summer night.
Believe it or not there is yet more to love than the good music and food. In 2011, the Psychotronic Film Society and the Concord Music group co-sponsored a film that was shown at the festival titled The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi. The film highlights the life of the jazz musician and his complete mastery of the piano. The performances and drinks are also sponsored by the Minor Family Vineyards.
Savannah’s open container laws allow you to bring your own fun to the fest! Glass containers aren’t allowed, but there are plenty of options to choose from. Pack your cooler with a few six packs or bring your own box of wine. If you’d prefer a something on tap, beverage stands offer draft beer and wine straight out of the bottle.
In 2011, the Savannah Children’s Jazz Festival started the last day of the events with performances by the Coastal Jazz Association Allstars. The Savannah Jazz Festival always ends on a high note with a bit of nostalgia thrown in for fun. Another year and another week always bring new generations to share in and appreciate the great American original music that is jazz and blues.
There are no limits to who appreciates jazz music whether they be life long aficionados or new discoverers of this highly original music genre. One can learn the history of jazz music at the festival as well as lay back and listen and love it. Between the jam sessions and the awesome professional performers, you may gather your nerve to pick up your instrument and join in so don’t leave it behind.
About the Author: Seymour is a huge fan of listening to and writing about music, and the related industries as well as other unrelated topics.If you liked the previous article, you can go take a look at additional related content at