Band: Gulf Coast Ethnic & Heritage Jazz Festival
Date: July 27 through Aug. 1
Venue: The Temple, 351 St. Francis St.,
Tickets: $10 donation at the door
Founded in 1999, the Gulf Coast Ethnic & Heritage Jazz Festival’s mission is to “further the preservation and growth of Jazz music as America’s only original art form.” This year’s festival begins July 27 with the Marcus Johnson Jazz Camp. As a founding member of the Bay City Brass Band, Johnson earned the title of “King of the Second Line” through performances at numerous Mardi Gras parades and regional events. Unfortunately, Johnson died last December days shy of his 44th birthday, but this year’s camp was renamed in his honor.
The five-day camp will give young, aspiring jazz artists an opportunity to work with professional musicians to develop their jazz interpretations as well as their appreciation for the genre. They’ll also provide individual instruction on improvisation techniques. Those interested in the Marcus Johnson Jazz Camp should visit the festival’s website, www.gcehjazzfest.com, for more information.
The festival will culminate in a day of music at The Temple on Aug. 1. Pianist Gino Rosario will bring the Azalea City a set of carefree jazz trips across the keys. The E.B. Coleman Orchestra will bring a big-band jazz sound that has echoed through the streets of Mobile since 1955. The Bay City Brass Band, which has marches on without Johnson, will offer a set sure to conjure Mardi Gras in the middle of summer.
This year the festival will add a little blues to its jazz mix, with “Gulf Coast Blues Boy” Jamell Richardson bringing his own brand of electrifying blues. Eddie Shaw and the Wolf Gang are also scheduled to perform. In addition to his solo work, Shaw is known for musical forays with Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters.