Renown Jazz artists will play a free concert in Uptown at Victoria Yards

 By Cameron Lee

April 27, 2021

Usually during this time of year, Charlotte Jazz Festival is in full force with a variety of jazz-related events all throughout Uptown. Things are now obviously toned down due to the pandemic, but JazzArts Charlotte still brings a glimmer of musical hope to Victoria Yards on Friday, April 30. The outdoor venue will host Jazz at Victoria Yards, a free event that will showcase an impressive lineup of music headlined by the talented songstress, Vanessa Ferguson, best known as a semifinalist from NBC’s The Voice in 2017. Ferguson was also recently featured in The Water concert series produced by Come Hear NC. The performance, filmed at Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina, showcased Ferguson’s versatility as an artist. Ferguson followed the special appearance with a full “Ferguson sings Nina Simone” concert for JazzArts Charlotte’s Jazz Room in November of 2019.  

Friday night’s event will bring back entertainment to Uptown with an outdoor stage, beer by Resident Culture Brewing, and food trucks for a free family-friendly celebration of music. The event caps off Jazz Appreciation Month and honors International Jazz Day. 

Joining Ferguson on the stage throughout the evening will be the Reggie Sullivan Trio, JazzArts All-Stars, trumpeter Al Strong, and Jesters & Tyrants, featuring multi-instrumentalist Ryan Saranich and special guest Adrian Crutchfield, a former touring saxophonist for Prince. 

Adrian Crutchfield will join saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Saranich for his Jesters & Tyrants jazz fusion set. 

South Carolina’s Reggie Sullivan Trio will kick off the event with a set of jazz standards followed by JazzArts Charlotte’s very own JazzArts All-Stars featuring Olivia Ratliff on bass, Gustavo Cruz on saxophone, Holland Majors on piano, and Trey Tarzia/Samuel David on drums. 

Coming off the recent release of his moving musical and visual arrangement of “Live Every Voice and Sing,” Raleigh-Durham jazz scene mainstay and renowned trumpeter and composer, Al Strong will be presenting a special set of progressive jazz for the evening. Strong also co-founded the jazz nonprofit, The Art of Cool Project, which aims to preserve jazz through live performances and educational initiatives.

Multi-instrumentalist, Ryan Saranich, has come a long way from his musical beginnings at Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte, having studied at Berklee College of Music, Saranich has also toured internationally with the Pink Floyd tribute show Brit Floyd. On Friday, Saranich and his Jesters & Tyrants will flex an energizing jazz fusion set with special guest Adrian Crutchfield, who performed and recorded with the late, great Prince from 2012 to 2016. 

For jazz fans and live music appreciators, Friday night will bring a sense of normalcy to Uptown despite the unique location and set up. With a superb lineup of music at no cost, the event will hopefully mark the first of many compelling live music gatherings in the city. 

Jazz at Victoria Yards will take place on Friday, April 30 from 5 p.m to 10 p.m. at 408 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28202, located across the street from Duckworth’s at the corner of N. Tryon St. and 7th St.

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