Edgewood Jazz Crawl shines light on Atlanta’s favorite corridor
Curated streetcar performances stand out among scheduled Jazz Fest events.
Over the last decade, the Atlanta Jazz Festival has become increasingly creative with its events, collaborating not just with local restaurants and bars, the airport, churches, and schools, but with local council members as well. Last weekend’s free Neighborhood Jazz series introduced Kwanza Hall to attendees in the Old Fourth Ward park while treating them to the sounds of local groups such as Jacob Deaton’s Indie Revenge and the Christopher Alpiar Experiment (featuring Kebbi Williams). While the series has been a welcome addition to the festival’s repertoire, this year organizers look to cast an even wider net with the addition of the Jazz Crawl on Edgewood Avenue.
The jazz crawl, one of the more ambitious projects included in 2015’s 31 Days of Jazz utilizes the Old Fourth Ward.
The musical profile of Edgewood Ave. clubs such as Erosol, the Music Room, and the Sound Table has come into prominence, but the city has never fully had the opportunity to join the O4W corridor with downtown like it does this year. Enter the Atlanta Streetcar.
On Thurs., May 21 people can wander to and from restaurants and clubs, witnessing live jazz groups, documentaries, and DJs. But what stands out about the jazz crawl is the inclusion of the Atlanta Streetcar in the festivities. On May 21, three streetcars will run till 11 p.m. From 6-7:30 p.m., each streetcar will travel its route with a curated live performance. On one streetcar, trumpeter Jason Collier and guitarist Scott Clayton (both of whom play with Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics) will play standards and bossa nova tunes.
On another streetcar, cellist Benjamin Shirley (Faun and a Pan Flute) will play an improvised set with multi-instrumentalist Majid Araim (both of whom form the duo Whispers of Night). “We both bring a variety of instruments — strings, winds, percussion — and select what to use at a particular moment for a specific purpose,” Shirley says.
Speaking about the dynamic of playing in conjunction with a moving landscape aboard the streetcar , Shirley says, “Our music can definitely sound like what some listeners associate with film scores, soundtracks, and that quality will hopefully contribute to a cool experience for the streetcar rider and listener.”
Rounding it all out is jazz guitarist Myles Brown playing solo on the third streetcar. “I’ll play a mix of jazz standards, funky stuff, and originals, and try to keep it upbeat to match the vibe of the event,” Brown says.
Saxophonist Ryan Whitehead will perform in Woodruff Park, roughly the halfway stop on the streetcar’s route from Centennial Olympic Park to Edgewood and back.
On the way back, grab a different streetcar to get more of the live-music-on-the-streetcar-experience. Near the Edgewood at Hilliard stop at the Edgewood Speakeasy (Vesuvius Pizza) revelers can see the Ken Burns documentary Jazz, then stick around for GSU professor and trumpeter Gordon Vernick’s Quartet from 8:30-11:30pm. There are plenty of other gigs heading East toward Boulevard at Noni’s, The Music Room, Erosol, and others, but the end of the rainbow will surely be at the Sound Table where DJ Spinna will close out the crawl from 8:30-11 p.m. with his smooth Blue Note remixes.