May 12, 2021
Photo: Carter Wade
Since 2010, JazzArts Charlotte has cultivated a robust jazz scene in the city, championing and bolstering the music genre with a steady diet of quality music programming and education.
Like most resilient arts organizations, they continued to entertain music enthusiasts with a series of virtual performances during the pandemic. This continued into the present year, with performances like February’s mesmerizing tribute to legendary North Carolina jazz drummer Max Roach, and his 1960 protest jazz album We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite.
As the city and state began to open up with more public events, JazzArts Charlotte also hosted a free concert at Victoria Yards in Uptown Charlotte on International Jazz Day (April 30). Headlined by Vanessa Ferguson, with performances by Al Strong, Ryan Saranich, and special guest Adrian Crutchfield, the event was a roaring success. With a picturesque outdoor backdrop, local beer and food trucks, it’s easy to see why the event was appealing.
Now, as summer quickly approaches, the non-profit organization has announced a new summer concert series bringing four outdoor concerts to Victoria Yards.
On Friday, May 14, former Muddy Waters band member and early James Brown collaborator, Mac Arnold, will perform with his talented Plate Full O’ Blues band. The Alabama Blues Music Hall of Famer, who now resides in South Carolina, helped shape the sound of early electric blues, and will bring his foot-stompin’ sounds and infectious smile to the city.
Also performing is Queen City’s favorite jazz fusion collective, Menastree. Featuring Zach Wheeler on saxophone and keys, Jesse Lamar Williams on drums, Stephen Kallander on guitar, and Jeremy Mayher on bass, the group will play a selection of rare original grooves.
Located at 408 N. Tryon St., across from The Cellar at Duckworth’s on the corner of N. Tryon St. and 7th St., the venue isn’t hard to find. Chairs will be available at the event, but you are welcome to bring your own. With plenty of outdoor space, a vibrant Uptown backdrop, local beer, food trucks, and good live music, the JazzArts Summer Series at Victoria Yards is definitely a new norm we can all get used to.
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