Archive for May, 2007

Atlanta Downtown Festival & Tour: A Weekend-long Party

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

I had been to the Atlanta Downtown Festival & Tour before, but only because I was passing through and was curious as to what all the music and people was about. The thought of having an all out festival in the middle of downtown, set up on Broad Street in the Fairlie Popular District, seemed to be a cool idea. It was a nice little surprise to happen upon.

However, this time I attended the event, schedule May 19 & 20, intently with the baggage of previous knowledge and expectations. Even with that insight, the event did not disappoint. I love live music and they had plenty to match most adult musical taste. They had a live music line-up of 10 – 12 acts over a 2 day period that included singer/songwriters, jazz, R&B, rock bands and everything in between.

The Kick-Off Party held at the AmericasMart downtown featured a funk / R&B band called “The Lock Down Band”. They had a couple of vocalist and a kick-butt guitar player kinda like a cross between Parliment Funk-a-delic and Jimmy Hendrix with a little Prince thrown in (FYI: Huge Prince Fan). I know it sounds weird, but hey, the guy made us feel the funk. The party even had pretty good food and of course alcohol. The first drink was free when you purchased a ticket.

The festival itself was free, unless of course you didn’t include the Tour portion of the Festival & Tour at which point it was $20 per person. Proceeds benefited the neighborhood association. I have to mention that I didn’t take the tour. I did however, talk to several people that did and everyone seems to really enjoy it. It also seemed to be very popular as many people came to our booth I thought looking to get our live music newsletter and register to win a Free iPod only to discover that “Tour Fever” had already consumed them. I don’t know if I could blame them. The “Loft Tour” is basically a bunch of local downtown residents with really nice Lofts and Condos that agreed to be showcase homes to represent downtown living. Some of the homes featured food tastings from local restaurant chefs. My girlfriend enjoyed it even though on her Tour they had stop serving food.

Of course, a festival would not be complete without mentioning the artist on “artist row”. They had all kinds of ecceltic statues, hand crafted jewelry, paintings and drawings. One thing that really struck out was an artist that created beautiful canvass drawings with crayon. His name was Crayon Mark, can’t forget that, right. The detail and realism he created using only crayon was amazing. The cool part is that since he can’t make prints using crayon all his pieces are originals. If he became famous there would be not prints to flood the market. Anyway, I thought it was interesting.

When taking into account the music, the kick-off party, the Loft Tour and the Artist, I can say the Atlanta Downtown Festival & Tour was event better than my initial accidental visit. I hope this is the beginning of a great new tradition for Downtown and City of Atlanta.

Anton Harris Live @ Churchill Grounds

Friday, May 4th, 2007

    Anton with Bass Guitar       The Band      Anton with Bass

Great local music is being played every day in Atlanta.  The kinda stuff that makes you go “Wow, How is this guy not signed by a major record label.”  For those that didn’t make it out to the local jazz spot Churchill Grounds in Midtown next to The Fox to see the Anton Harris Quartet, this was one of those occasions and man you missed something special.

It never amazes me when you hear a bands CD and you think “It’s OK” then hear them live and you can’t believe it’s the same band.  There is nothing like hearing a band live.  The energy, the lighting, the wine.  Well, not too much wine.  The band played liked seasoned pros even though they looked as if they ranged from 25 to 30 years old at most.

The Band leader, Anton, has a very laid back demeanor, but played like a mad man on the sax.  He showed his musical diversity by playing the flute during one of his songs.  I wouldn’t do the band justice if I didn’t mention the drummer.  DrummerHe was Un-be-lie-va-ble. He solos brought down the house and created a higher energy or intensty in the room.  They did mostly originals which is a testimate to the band’s producing and arranging skills.

Be on the look for this video when it is posted on the Jazz Lounge Page.

            Anton    The Band 2   Stand-up Bass  






“Future of Jazz” Competition Finals

Friday, May 4th, 2007

Dave Bass      Ron James     Alex Lattimore

The Blue Room in Buckhead was the scene for the final showdown.  The winner of the jazz finals competition would perform at the Jazz Festival Kick-off party at the Park Tavern on Friday, May 25 and again on the main stage at the Atlanta Jazz Festival on Monday, May 28, 2007.  The winner would also receive $500.00 from the Atlanta Jazz Festival, and a professional audio recording provided by Jammates Records.

The competition was intense.  There was Dave Bass, the good spirited fellow that plays the guitar, the flute and the sax.  Then there was Alex Lattimore, the seasoned pro with the smooth vocals and also accomplished musician.  Finally there was Ron James, the energetic easy going upstart that knows how to work a crowd.  It seems we had the making of a historic battle royal music fest right in Buckhead’s Peachtree Battle Shopping Center.

We heard three great performances and an evening full of wonderful song and melodies. However, the best part of the evening for me was when I had a chance to sit down and talk to each artist individually.  I have found that if I can understand the man or woman behind the music I can better understand the music.  These gentlemen are true ambassadors of the Atlanta music scene.  I realized that this event was more about building the music community than competing against each other.

However, since this was a competition someone had to win.  And the winner is … Ron James.  He totally deserved it.  His performance kicked butt.  I mean was good. 🙂 sorry.

Check out more Future of Jazz Finalist Interviews:

Dave BassDave Bass … on what influences his music … on music in his blood … on when do you practice … on the future of jazz … on the Atlanta jazz scene … on competition

Alex LattimoreAlex Lattimore … on crowd involvement … on commercialism and love of music … on local haunts and musicians … on where to find him

Ron JamesRon James … on his carribean influences … on where he finds music … on where to find him