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The 4th Annual Charleston Jazz Festival Announces its Star-Studded Line-Up for 2018

Festival to showcase Kenny G, Nnenna Freelon, top local jazz groups, educators and students.

CHARLESTON, SC October 24, 2017 – The highly anticipated Charleston Jazz Festival is back for its fourth year in the Holy City with a star-studded line-up. The festival has expanded to a four-day event with over 100 locally, regionally, and nationally recognized jazz musicians in the lineup. The festival will take place January 18 – 21, 2018, with events at multiple locations throughout downtown Charleston, including the Gaillard Center, Charleston Music Hall, Renaissance Hotel, Sottile Theater, and Barsa Tapas Lounge and Bar.

The 2018 line-up is expected to draw over 3,500 people. This year’s roster will feature Kenny G and Nnenna Freelon, two of the most acclaimed, award-winning musical artists touring today. Nnenna Freelon has been nominated for six Grammy Awards and performed with top artists such as Ray Charles, Anita Baker, Dianne Reeves, and Al Jarreau. Grammy Award winner, Kenny G, is the biggest-selling instrumental musician of the modern era, with global sales totaling more than 75 million records.

Freelon will perform Thursday, January 18th with the Charleston Jazz Orchestra (CJO), led by Music Director Charlton Singleton at the Charleston Music Hall.  The concert theme is One Standard Time: The Great American Songbook.  Kenny G and his band will headline the Saturday concert at the Gaillard Center on January 20th.

The festival will also highlight the talents of many of Charleston’s best local jazz artists through a series of three themed concerts at the Renaissance Hotel on January 19th:

Disney Meets Jazz  – featuring Lovett/Belanger/Ray: This concert pays tribute to timeless Disney tunes set to jazz by one of Charleston’s most creative up and coming jazz groups. Inspired by the piano trios of Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and Robert Glasper this dynamic trio brings their own character to create music that is nuanced and sensitive, or aggressive and fiery, but always brimming with a sense of playfulness.

Gullah Contemporary Jazz – featuring the Demetrius Doctor Trio with Mark Sterbank:  This concert features the keyboard chops of Demetrius Doctor and his trio as they blend Jazz and Fusion to create a unique brew of the rhythms, feelings, and stories straight from their roots in the Lowcountry.  Mark Sterbank adds to the magic with his brilliance on the saxophone.

Celebrating Sinatra – featuring the Joe Clarke Big Band:  Joe Clarke’s popular 14-piece big band orchestra will jettison audiences straight back to the 50’s as they celebrate the classics made famous by the ‘Chairman of the Board.’ Featuring Joe Clarke as conductor and lead vocalist, this concert will pay tribute to Sinatra classics such as Fly Me to the Moon, Summer Wind, Come Fly with Me, and The Way You Look Tonight.

A free concert will be offered at Barsa Tapas Lounge and Bar on Friday evening featuring the Oscar Rivers Trio with ‘Mr. Blues’ Williams.  Both Williams and Rivers are featured in the Encyclopedia of South Carolina Jazz and Blues Musicians, which honors the careers of South Carolinian jazz and blues musicians from the 19th century to the present.  The annual Jazz Festival Jam Session will follow this concert.

Family Jazz Day will be held on Sunday, January 21 at the Sottile Theatre and will feature the Ken Foberg Jazz Quartet with Alva Anderson.  A long time performer and jazz educator, Ken Foberg has worked with many notable ensembles including the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Joining his Quartet on Family Jazz Day is the internationally known jazz singer and violist Alva Anderson. The Family Jazz Day will also feature the Charleston All-Star Youth Jazz Orchestra led by Stephan Berry, and the School of the Arts Jazz Band led by Basil Kerr.  Family Jazz Day is free for all students and children.

“One of the joys of producing the Charleston Jazz Festival is that we can bring big name talent like Nnenna Freelon and Kenny G to Charleston, while also creating a space for our local jazz musicians to shine,” said Mary Beth Natarajan, Executive Director at Charleston Jazz.

Proceeds from tickets sales help support scholarships for the new Charleston Jazz Academy.

2018 Charleston Jazz Festival Schedule

Thursday, January 18, 2018

7:30pm Nnenna Freelon with the Charleston Jazz Orchestra – ($25 – $60)
Charleston Music Hall / 37 John Street / Charleston, SC / 29403

Friday, January 19, 2018

5:30pm Disney Meets Jazz ($25)
Featuring Lovett/Belanger/Ray

7:00pm Gullah Contemporary Jazz ($25)
Featuring the Demetrius Doctor Trio with Mark Sterbank

8:30pm Celebrating Sinatra ($25)
Featuring the Joe Clarke Big Band
Renaissance Hotel Ballroom / 68 Wentworth Street / Charleston, SC / 29401

9:30pm Oscar Rivers Trio with “Mr. Blues” Williams  (Free Admission)
10:30pm Festival Jazz Jam (Free Admission)
Barsa Tapas Lounge and Bar / 630 King Street / Charleston, SC 29403

Saturday, January 20, 2018

8:00 pm Kenny G ($40 – $125)
The Gaillard Center / 95 Calhoun Street / Charleston, SC / 29401

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Family Jazz Day
(Free Admission for students and children. Adults $5)

3:00pm The Ken Foberg Jazz Quartet with Alva Anderson
Charleston All-Star Youth Jazz Orchestra
Charleston School of the Arts (SOA) Jazz Band
A general admission ticket is required
The Sottile Theatre / 44 George Street / Charleston, SC 29401 

About the Charleston Jazz Festival: The Charleston Jazz Festival is produced and presented by Charleston Jazz, a South Carolina-based nonprofit organization incorporated to foster a professional environment for jazz musicians, artists, students and enthusiasts in the Charleston area. Its mission is to develop, promote, and support a vibrant and creative jazz culture through concerts, special outreach events, and educational programs. Charleston Jazz endeavors to preserve and bolster Charleston’s rich musical history and legacy as it explores the various realms of jazz in terms of how it is created as well as its stylistic expressions.

For more information visit www.charlestonjazz.com. To schedule an interview or media appearance or for hi-resolution images, please contact Deja Knight at dknight@regancomm.com.

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