See you at the Amelia Island Jazz Festival!
by: Davis Yancy Clegg
Having been an islander for all of my adult life, I can say that only in the past few years has the music scene truly started to get exciting. With the collaborative services those like Jeff Barksdale of Big-0 sound and Jay Robertson and many other local professionals, there has been a recent surge in the quality of talent that has come to grace our island. At Amelia River Cruises, it is not only our goal to show you a good time out on one of the east coasts most historic shorelines, but to educate you on the necessity and beauty that is so deserving of our attention and preservation. Likewise – If you watch closely, you can notice the overall mood of the community alters for the better anytime such events like the Amelia Island Jazz Festival come to pass. I welcome anyone to challenge the viability of the efforts that have been made by so many to bring the arts to the streets and forefront of the community. Just take a walk downtown Centre St. – better yet attend – for the Sounds on Centre event each month. The lawn chairs and families dancing along give us a rare glimpse of the musically appreciative community you might not see in your typical late night club setting.
Along with the Musical Playhouse and local artist performing nightly about downtown, there have been more festivals happening in most recent years. The Les DeMerle Amelia Island Jazz Festival is one of those events that is very worthy of mention. It is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization that donates proceeds to scholarship funds for aspiring jazz musicians. It is a great place for aspiring jazz-cats to be able to watch professional jazz musicians put on quite a show. Jazz – at least for the most of my musical career – has been rumored to be a dying sound. I, for one, disagree whole heartedly. You can throw on an old Miles Davis record in the worst of times, and have a smile on your face by the time the needle runs out of road.
This year the Jazz Festival will be held October 4 – 11th. The headliners are going to be jazz guitarist Larry Coryell and jazz vocalist Kevin Mahogany. Larry has recorded over a hundred records. He has also shared the stage with Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix. Coryell is seen as one of the pioneers of jazz-rock with his innovative style he puts on the classic jazz foundations. Along with Larry Coryell, there are several names worthy of dropping in the jazz community to entertain through the week. Those heading up the Amelia Island Jazz Festival put forth their efforts to keep bringing the much needed cultural content to the island music scene, to broaden their horizons in the jazz community, and to help build a scholarship fund that can changes aspiring musician’s lives forever.
There are many ways in which you can help to continue a much needed tradition of local jazz influence. As a profession musician, I can speak for us all when I say diversity is always welcome to the arts scene. If it weren’t, then what would we be attempting to accomplish by becoming professional musicians. You can become a sponsor of the Amelia Island Jazz Festival by going to their website and choosing the sponsorship you and your family can afford. There are many different levels of sponsorship. The different levels of sponsorship allow you to do everything from name the night’s event, receive autographed CDs, advertise your small business, and – most importantly – support the regeneration of one of music’s most distinguished genre’s. I hope you reap the same bliss as I do from experiencing the world’s greatest jazz talents.
Make sure to attend at least one of the world class performances that are offered on the island during the first October week, starting with the Free Concert “Jazz at the Park” at Amelia Park. See you at AIJF!
How about a Family Friendly Sunset Cruise after the Free Concert at the Park. This sounds like the perfect way to end October 4th.