The future of the jazz scene in Atlanta seems grim due to the lack of originality, venues for live performances and the cancellation of the 2009 Jazz Festival. From Jon Ross’s perspective, the scene is still vibrant and emerging in a thriving community of jazz enthusiasts. Jazzlanta, Jon’s blog, is an attempt to keep the genre alive and the community aware of what’s happening around town. Sifting through his posts, I’ve come to the realization that there is a future for the jazz scene in Atlanta despite the many pitfalls. For the lack of originality, Jay Norem and Ken Gregory are on a quest to bring about a jazz collective called the Atlanta Jazz Reunion at Studio 281. The aim is to create a web of musicians that work as a support system for original music. As Norem says,

“It’s very difficult to sell the idea of a musicians’ organization here. This is not much of a town for original music…..Yes, I’m an idealist, but I just can’t see how much good can come from things staying the way they are in Atlanta. It will take time, but it’s not going away.”    

For the lack of live performances at restaurants and clubs, Jon has a couple of posts speaking about local house concerts around Atlanta. Local house concerts are a growing phenomenon around the country where homeowners provide a space for starving artists to perform. Two groups that are spearheading the local house concert scene in Atlanta are The Bowman House Concert Series and SOJA (Southeastern Organization for Jazz Arts Events). Below is a video from SOJA’s last house concert, which featured Takana Miyamoto and Christian Tamburr.

As for the cancellation of the 2009 Jazz Festival, it seems that there are good signs to come. The festival will be held May 23-25th at Grant Park. A press release was released to shed light on the issues concerning the cancellation of the festival and to give the jazz community hope that the Office of Cultural Affairs is responding to their pleas for the preservation of America’s only unique art form. Here’s is a quote from the press release:

"Recent economic conditions and budget reductions threaten to interrupt a 32-year tradition of presenting authentic jazz to the residents and visitors of Atlanta. While city funding for the festival has been eliminated, local jazz enthusiasts and supporters of the Atlanta Jazz Festival overwhelmingly demand the continuation of what Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin has determined as 'one of the city’s proudest traditions.”


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