James on Jazz: Savor outdoor jazz fests while you can!

Autumn is coming soon, but there are still outdoor fests on tap

JamesOnJazzsquareGet ready to make some noise, people! No one can say the Twin Cities doesn’t have it going on when it comes to hosting successful and long running jazz festivals. Two annual jazz festivals are happening over the next two Saturdays in the Twin Cities, continuing to grow the audience for jazz.

First up is the Selby Avenue Jazz Festival, which takes place on September 12 (11 am – 8 pm); and next weekend it’s the Freedom Jazz and Art Festival, September 19 (12 pm – 6 pm). Both festivals are free and open to the public and can boast over 10+ years of history in the making.

About the Selby Ave JazzFestMichael Wright, owner of Golden Thyme Coffee & Cafe and founder of the Selby Avenue JazzFest summed it up best on the website by saying, “The Selby and Rondo Neighborhoods have always had a wonderful history that revolves around family, community, and togetherness. Folks just simply needed a way to rekindle that spirit.”

With that spirit intact and the alluring combination of free live jazz, great food vendors, family activities, and a Health & Wellness Village, this event is one everyone looks forward to every year.

Taking the stage this year will be the high-level musicianship of saxophonist Walter Chanellor and his band, and Salsa Del Soul. The Jazz Heritage Showcase highlights master drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code, the Walker West Urban Legends of Jazz, Lex-Ham Community Band, and Dick & Jane’s Big Brass Band.

3559940_origThe Freedom Jazz and Art Festival, a non-profit organization, promises a fusion of music, art, and soulful vibes for next Saturday at Minnehaha Park & Bandstand in Minneapolis.

According to its Twitter timeline (@FreedomJazzFest), this year’s festival performers include Debbie Duncan, Yolanda Bruce, Linda Sloan, Walker West Academy, Capri Big Band, The Tangents, Chip Minor & more.

Visit their website and check out the About Us section. While there I discovered a pretty good graph explaining the organization’s goals as well as jazz in America and Minnesota.

“One of our goals is to help create a future generation of jazz lovers and musicians. The history of jazz has also been the history of America. The jazz history in Minnesota is long and rich and each year. We celebrate jazz and the freedom it allowed African American artists to create and perform.”

Have fun at the festivals and wave goodbye to Summer 2015; it’s been a good one!

Robin James welcomes reader responses to jamesonjazz@spokesman-recorder.com. You can also find James on Twitter at @Robin_James1.