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Tracking Atlanta’s evolving jazz scene, one YouTube video at a time

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Two and a half years ago, amateur trumpeter, professional Web developer and jazz blogger Rick Gutierrez started going to Atlanta-area jazz shows armed with a small video camera. The result is a digital concert diary that at this writing has grown to 65 entries, each accompanied by detailed personnel notes. Gutierrez is expanding it every week, visiting venues in and around Atlanta such as Café 290, Studio 281 and the occasional private residence to capture national performers swinging briefly through town.

The collection also stands as a testament to the local scene, documenting the evolution of the city’s most recognized local artists. In one video, tenor saxophonist Clarence Johnson appears in a 2007 Churchill Grounds performance playing a quartet version of “Night in Tunisia.” A year later, he pops up in an invigorating “Cherokee” with Victor Goines, a tenor saxophonist in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

Gutierrez’s song-length videos focus on a few key musicians, and it’s interesting to see how Johnson, trumpeter Joe Gransden and the other featured artists handle themselves in a variety of musical situations. These recordings are a relatively easy way to follow the careers of Atlanta’s best jazz singers and instrumentalists. It makes Gutierrez’s YouTube channel required viewing for anyone interested in Atlanta jazz.

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