German philosopher, cultural critic, and poet Friedrich Nietzsche famously said: “Without music, life would be a mistake.”
The organizers of Jazz in the Park-Huntsville certainly had that in mind three years ago, October of 2015, when the inaugural concert featured international smooth jazz recording artist, saxophonist Steve Cole. The event, held in Big Spring Park East, was the result of a collaboration between the City of Huntsville’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and Birmingham-based non-profit organization, Magic City Smooth Jazz, Inc.
Bernard Lockhart, the executive director of Magic City Smooth Jazz, said his agency is dedicated to promoting cultural activities throughout the state through jazz performances at no cost to the public. When asked why the concerts are free, he said, “It is vitally important to remove barriers to people especially those from disadvantaged communities so that they can enjoy quality live jazz performances.”
What to expect
With the success of that first concert, Jazz in the Park-Huntsville has become a highly anticipated, multi-concert series held Sundays in September, from 6-9 p.m., in Big Spring Park East. For 2018, the event will feature five live concerts. A local or regional artist opens up, followed by a 30-minute intermission, before the headline performer plays for about 90 minutes. The venue now attracts a mature audience of thousands of people, lawn chairs in tow, from surrounding cities including Birmingham, Nashville, Chattanooga and more.
Sunday jazz line-up
- Sept. 2, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Roland Gresham and Gail Jhonson
- Sept. 9, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Kayoband and Adam Hawley
- Sept. 16, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., TAD of Jazz and Kim Scott
- Sept. 23, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Norris Jones and Brian Simpson
- Sept. 30, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Carmen Lundy and Theo Croker
More than jazz
An important addition to the lineup this year will be music education workshops in the Huntsville City Schools system led by four of the headliners. The artists are excited about participating and looking forward to sharing their expertise and knowledge with local students. The workshops will be held on the day after the respective concerts at The Academy for Academics and Arts, Columbia, Jemison and Lee High Schools.
None of this would be possible without presenting sponsor Lexus of Huntsville and generous donations from local businesses and individuals who support music and music education.
Huntsville is known as a leader in engineering, science, technology and defense. With its recent partnership with Sound Diplomacy and the city-wide music audit, the City has signaled an interest in being a major player on the music scene with the potential to highlight regional musicians, writers and producers while continuing to attract and showcase diverse performances.
The 2018 Jazz in the Park-Huntsville concert series will be held September 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 from 6-9 p.m. in Big Spring Park East. Stay current with event schedules, artist and giveaways on Facebook and Twitter or contact Kenny Anderson 256.883.3993 for more information.