News briefs: Atlanta Jazz Festival teases upcoming line-up, Spivey Hall announces 2016-17 season

Brazil's Eliane Elias will be one of the headliners at this year's Atlanta Jazz Festival.
Brazil's Eliane Elias will be one of the headliners at this year's Atlanta Jazz Festival.
Brazil's Eliane Elias will be one of the headliners at this year's Atlanta Jazz Festival.
Brazil’s Eliane Elias will be one of the headliners at this year’s Atlanta Jazz Festival.

Atlanta Jazz Festival to feature Benny Golson, Eliane Elias

The line-up for this year’s 39th annual Atlanta Jazz Festival on Memorial Day weekend will feature saxophonist Benny Golson, a legendary musician who has performed with the likes of Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton and Art Blakey.

Golson’s resume also includes film and television scores that include M*A*S*H, Mission Impossible and The Partridge Family

Camille Russell Love, executive director of the city of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, announced a partial line-up on the festival yesterday. The full line-up will be announced April 5.

Joining Golson will be Grammy Award-winner Eliane Elias and drummer Jamison Ross, who won the Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition in 2012. And according to the band’s website, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble will also perform at the festival. 

Jazz saxophonist Benny Golson. (Photo by Lisas Stein)
Jazz saxophonist Benny Golson. (Photo by Lisas Stein)

“We are excited about this year’s festival,” Love said in a press release. “We’ve got jazz legends, international icons and young innovators.” 

Elias is a pianist, singer and songwriter who brings her Brazilian roots into her music. Since her debut in 1984, she has released 25 albums. Elias and Herbie Hancock were nominated for a Grammy in 1995 for their Solos and Duets CD. She received a Grammy last year for Best Latin Jazz Album for Made In Brazil, which she also produced.

Ross — a native of Jacksonville, Florida — charged into the jazz music world last year when his debut album, Jamison, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album. He not only handled the drums on the album, but sang on 10 of the 12 tracks. 

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are also known as “The Bad Boys of Jazz,” and is a brass band composed of seven brothers whose father is jazz trumpeter Phil Cohran. Their music incorporates numerous influences, including hip-hop, funk, Calypso and Gypsy music. 

The group has toured with the Mos Def’s Big Band and were part of the soundtrack of the blockbuster film Hunger Games

The Atlanta Jazz Festival will be staged May 27-29 at Piedmont Park. 

— Scott Freeman

Spivey Hall announces 2016-17 season artists

Spivey Hall has announced details of artists and programs for its 2016-17 concert series. It is Spivey Hall’s 26th season, and a special spotlight will be shined on the 25th anniversary of the hall’s Albert Schweitzer Memorial Organ, built by Fratelli Ruffatti, which was dedicated in May 1992. 

Violin/fiddle legend Mark O'Conner.
Violin/fiddle legend Mark O’Connor.

Featured performers in the organ series include organist-in-residence Alan Morrison (October 29), Stephen Tharp (January 28), Steven Ball (February 25) with mime Dan Kamin, and Hector Olivera (May 6). The organ series will conclude with the Albert Schweitzer Memorial Organ 25th Anniversary Celebration (May 13) showcasing Morrison alongside organists Ken Cowan and Cherry Rhodes, including the world premiere of a commissioned work for all three organists at once by Weicheng Zhao.

The 2016-17 season’s opening concert also launches its piano series with pianist Inon Barnatan (September 25). Other featured pianists of the season are Joyce Yang (February 5), Alexander Gavrylyuk (February 26), Bertrand Chamayou (March 19), Louis Lortie (April 2) and Yefim Bronfman (April 29).

Ensembles in the strings series include Trio Settecento (October 30), the Lysander Piano Trio (November 13), London Haydn Quartet with clarinetist Eric Hoeprich (January 8), the Danish String Quartet (February 4) and jazz-crossover group Ebène Quartet (April 1). Violin superstar Hilary Hahn will perform a recital with pianist Robert Levin (March 26). 

Solo vocal performers include mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená with pianist, Malcolm Martineau (October 15), mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly with pianist Joseph Middleton (March 11), and soprano Miah Persson and baritone Florian Boesch performing solo songs and duets with pianist Malcolm Martineau (March 25). Vocal ensembles include early-music vocal sextet Heinavanker (November 6) and Chanticleer (November 26).

Spivey’s jazz series will include Christian Sands Trio (November 12), the Fred Hughes Trio (December 3), chanteuse Tammy McCann (January 21), the Sean Jones Quartet (March 4) and pianist Fred Hersch.

Special events throughout the season will include guitarists Eliot Fisk and Ángel Romero performing solo and duo works (October 23), a cappella vocal sextet Take 6 (November 27), lute player Hopkinson Smith (December 3), the Glenn Miller Orchestra (January 7) and fiddler Mark O’Connor with the O’Connor Family Band (February 18).

— Mark Gresham

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