Preview: The 38th annual Atlanta Jazz Festival takes over Piedmont Park with Pharoah Sanders

Pharaoh Sanders headlines this year's Atlanta Jazz Festival.
Pharaoh Sanders headlines this year's Atlanta Jazz Festival.
Pharaoh Sanders headlines this year's Atlanta Jazz Festival.
Pharoah Sanders headlines this year’s Atlanta Jazz Festival.

Legendary saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and singer Diane Schuur headline this weekend’s 38th annual Atlanta Jazz Festival, scheduled for May 22 to 24 in Piedmont Park.

Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Jeff “Tain” Watts’ Nettwork Trio and saxophonist Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life are also among the acts that will perform.

The festival will again feature three stages, with stages for international acts and local talent open on May 23 and May 24. Highlights on the international stages include O’Farrill’s band, the Alfredo Rodriguez Trio and Emrah Kotan. Atlanta trumpeter Joe Gransden and his big band will play the smaller local stage this year, which will also feature performances by Kenosha Kid and Wolfpack ATL.

On May 21, music on the main stage will begin at 7 p.m. with the R&B band Mad Satta (band members dub their music “future soul”) fronted by the lazy-summer-evening vocals of Joanna Teters. Bassist Thundercat, a performer in the same general vein, will close the festivities that evening. Placing two more pop-oriented acts on the stage Friday night seems to be a calculated move to appeal to a younger audience.

But there is still a good helping of jazz on the main stage throughout the rest of the festival. Strickland, Otis Brown III and Derrick Hodge will close the main stage performances on May 23, with Watts’ trio, Schuur and Sanders scheduled for the final night.

Here’s the full lineup:

Friday, May 22

Main Stage:

7 p.m. Mad Satta

9 p.m. Thundercat

Saturday, May 23

Local Stage:

12:30 p.m. Tri-Cities High School Jazz Band

2:30 p.m. Jessie Davis & the Nebraska Jones Experiment

4:30 p.m. Kenosha Kid

6:30 p.m. Wolfpack ATL

International Stage:

1:30 p.m. North Atlanta Center for the Arts Jazz Band

3:30 p.m. Dida

5:30 p.m. Banda Magda

7:30 p.m. Alfredo Rodriguez Trio

Main Stage:

1 p.m. Contemporary Violinist Daniel D.

3 p.m. The Rad Trads

5 p.m. Marcus Strickland Twi-Life

7 p.m. Otis Brown III

9 p.m. Derrick Hodge

Sunday, May 24

Local Stage:

12:30 p.m. Joe Gransden and his Big Band

2:30 p.m. Mastery

4:30 p.m. Jeff Sparks

6:30 p.m. Tony Hightower

International Stage:

1:30 p.m. Fernanda Noronha

3:30 p.m. Strings from Haiti

5:30 p.m. Emrah Kotan

7:30 p.m. Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra

Main Stage:

1 p.m. Navy Band Southeast: VIP Protocol Combo

3 p.m. Four Women: A Tribute to Nina Simon — featuring Kathleen Bertrand, Julie Dexter, Rhonda Thomas and Terry Harper

5 p.m. Nettwork Trio: Charnett Moffett, Stanley Jordan, and Jeff “Tain” Watts

7 p.m. Diane Schuur

9 p.m. Pharoah Sanders Quartet featuring Kurt Rosenwinkel

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