by rick grant
This year, the Jax Jazz Festival is taking a giant step by moving from Metropolitan Park and throwing a free street festival in Downtown Jacksonville. It’s an exciting concept for different reasons, but first and foremost, it brings people together in the middle of Downtown to stroll around and enjoy the many different sounds, rhythms, and pungent aromas of cooking food.
The festival includes burgeoning art and music in the Downtown quadrant. Throughout the event there will be wine tastings, the Generation Next Talent Competition, jazz brunches, exhibits, educational displays. And, it’s all free except the Jazz Piano Competition at the Florida Theatre and select events, like the wine tasting and brunch.
There will be multiple stages spread out over Hemming Plaza and Laura Street, including the Synder Memorial Building (the old church) and the Landing. The Groovin’ Stage will be in Hemming Plaza. The Swingin’ Stage will be located at the corner of Forsyth and Laura Streets. The Breezin’ Stage will be at the Landing Courtyard.
Fest-goers will find a great diversity of jazz entertainment and music for every taste. Every genre of jazz will be represented from traditional to modern to smooth. There will be performances by top local and national talent like the distinctive harmonies of the Dave Brubeck Quartet playing with the St. Johns River City Band. Dr. John and the Lower 911 will crank out their unique blend of voodoo mysticism, funk, rhythm & blues, psychedelic rock and Creole roots and if your mood runs mellow, check out the smooth sax sounds of Boney James or trumpet master Chris Botti who creates a soulful sound with naturally flowing improvisation. Headliner Roberta Flack brings her internationally acclaimed musical landscape of insightful songs that range from pop to soul to folk and jazz.
Overall, this is a great affair that will allow people to enjoy the cultural richness of Downtown. There will be plenty of different food and beverage booths. Get off that couch, enjoy our beautiful city and listen to some free jazz.
Noel Freidline: interview
Lao Tizer: interview
Entertainment Schedule
Other Jazz Fest events and Exhibitions
Experience Jazz Preferred Packages
Downtown Businesses & the Jazz Fest
Alternative Transportation Schedule