Soulful sounds to sweep through Savannah during the Jazz Festival

Posted on September 22, 2014 by

sav jazz fest 2014 posterThe 33rd annual Savannah Jazz Festival returned on Sunday with a concert in Habersham Village featuring several local bands and musicians, thanks to the Coastal Jazz Association.

“This year CJA is presenting a group of outstanding artist who include: Rene Marie, Don Braden, Jon Faddis and the CJA Hall of Fame All-Stars with new inductees,” said Teddy Adams, CJA founding board member. “The aforementioned is just some of the talent and entertainment being offered to the public and it’s all FREE.”

The Savannah Country Day School Jazz Band kicked off this week-long festival with a performance at 2 p.m., followed by the Savannah Arts Academy Skylite Jazz Orchestra. Afterwards the Armstrong Atlantic State University Jazz Ensemble took the stage with the Teddy Adams Jam Session as the finale.

Habersham Village will continue to host events until Wednesday, with the Jazz Corner All-Stars Monday at 6 p.m. and the Phil Morrison Trio on Tuesday at 6 p.m. with Jody Espina and the Howard Paul Quintet featuring Claire Frasier at 8 p.m.

The festival will move to City Market on Wednesday with a performance by the Doug Carn B3 Trio at 7 p.m. at D&B Burgers, which is followed by their movie night at 8:30, screening Killer B3: A Documentary About The Hammond Organ, which was directed and written by Murv Seymour.

The most popular events in the festival take place in Forsyth Park on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, starting just before sunset and carrying into the night. These free concerts feature an assortment of musicians of all ages, playing all kinds of different instruments, sharing their music with the city. Restaurants and vendors even come out to the park and set up tents, so attendees can get something to eat while enjoying the music.

“Performances at Habersham Village and Forsyth Park are both outstanding with the emphasis at Habersham Village being on local and regional artists and Forsyth Park focusing on national and international artists,” said Adams.

After the concerts in the park, Late Night Jam Sessions will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from 11 p.m. until 2 a.m. at Rancho Alegre Cuban Restaurant.


Forsyth Park Jazz Festival Schedule:


6 p.m.          –    Savannah State University Choir

7 p.m.          –    Eric Culberson Trio

8:15 p.m.    –    Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin

9:30 p.m.    –    Shemikia Copeland Band


6 p.m.          –    Velvet Caravan

7 p.m.          –    Dee Lucas

8:15 p.m.     –   University of North Florida’s Jazz Ensemble

9:30 p.m.    –    Rene Marie Quartet


5 p.m.         –     Doc Handy

6 p.m.         –     Hall of Fame Induction and Concert, featuring Teddy Adams,Huxsie Scott, Eddie Pazant, Howard Paul, Ben Riley and new inductees Delbert Felix, Eric Vaughn and Dr. Randy Reese.

7 p.m.         –     Audrey Shakir Quartet

8:15 p.m.    –    Don Braden Quartet

9:30 p.m.    –    Jon Faddis with the Savannah Jazz Orchestra


“The goal is to promote the art form and preserve the history of the music,” said Howard Paul, professional jazz guitarist, CJA board member and CEO of Benedetto Guitars, Inc. “But the ability to unite the community with music is what has kept the event moving forward for more than three decades.”

The Jazz Festival started at Grayson Stadium in 1983, a year after the formation of the Coastal Jazz Association. The CJA grew out of the Telfair Jazz Society, which formed when bassist Ben Tucker and trombonist Teddy Adams gathered with other great musicians to preform at the Telfair museums on Sunday afternoons.

“Ben and I assembled the very best musicians in Savannah when we formed the Telfair Jazz Society,” said Adams.

Ben Tucker played bass, while Teddy Adams was on trombone, Kenny Palmer on piano, Buby McMillian, on saxophone, Stubby Mitchell on trumpet, Samarai Celestial on drums and Huxsie Scott on vocals. Together these individuals formed the Telfair Jazz Society. 

Tucker and Adams went on to teach an eight-week class at Savannah State University and when it ended, the students couldn’t let go of it so easily – Tom and Connie Glasser met up with Isadore and Edith Karpf for lunch and decided to create a jazz association. Many joined the group, including Spague Exley, Boo Hornstein, Lee Luckett, as well as Tucker and Adams.

Now the Coastal Jazz Association has hundreds of members; everyone from business people to musicians and educators joined in, all to help jazz thrive and build the community with free events that everyone can attend.

“CJA has been able to present Jazz concerts to its members and the general public every month,” said Adams. “It has presented 33 Jazz festivals in 32 years and it gives scholarships to deserving music students who are playing Jazz on a college level annually.”


For more information about the festival, go to All of the events during the Savannah Jazz Festival are free and do not require any tickets.