Our 9th Annual Township Jazz Festival, held on April 9, 2016, was a huge success! Record crowds showed up to enjoy picture-perfect weather and an incredible afternoon of music. Many heartfelt thanks to everyone who came out to support our festival, and especially to the sponsors who made it possible.
Mike Burton (Atlanta, GA)
A native son of Jackson returns for a jazz homecoming of sorts! After graduating from Murrah High School and the JPS APAC program in 1996 he embarked on a journey to build on this musical legacy. He has toured with Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Patti LaBelle, and Anita Baker as well as with New Edition, Johnta Austin, soul artist PJ Morton, and blues singer Willie Clayton. He was also in the Emmy Award winning movie Bessie, playing tenor saxophone in Bessie's (Queen Latifah's) band. His soulful saxophone can also be heard on the Grammy Nominated "Love Has Finally Come At Last," by Calvin Richardson. He has appeared on The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, The Steve Harvey Show, Ellen, Jimmy Kimmel, TV One, BET Jazz, and performed alongside pianist Bobby Lyle on the popular show Studio Jams. Hear samples of Mike's music here...
Bernard Harris (Nashville, TN)
Bass player Bernard Harris is not “all about that bass.” But you wouldn’t know it from hearing him play. He can mesmerize an audience with his funky and soulful instrumental solos on bass guitar. Most bassists function strictly as background players, using their instrument to keep rhythm and beat. Harris takes the bass guitar to an entirely different level, using it to create melody, and in the process, praising God with his marvelous talents. Harris has toured internationally through Europe and Australia, and performed with other artists such as Aaron Neville, Amy Grant, Phil Keaggy, and Tommy Emmanuel. In the fall of 2014, he joined forces with popular artists Mandisa and TobyMac for a tour across America. In the last six months, he performed with Mandisa on Good Morning America and was a part of her Grammy award-winning album Overcomer. More info at http://www.bernardharris.com.
Breeze Cayolle (New Orleans, LA and Memphis, TN)
Saxophonist/singer-songwriter Brian "Breeze" Cayolle is soulful, strong and deeply rooted in the rhythm & blues, jazz and rock and roll traditions of his native New Orleans. His sound and style have taken him around the world, igniting crowds to standing ovations from the Montreux Jazz Festival to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. A glance at some of Cayolle's musical achievements reveals a road map of American music; opening in rock halls for Stevie Ray Vaughn; playing the blues with Clarence Gatemouth Brown and the Blues Queen of New Orleans, Marva Wright; a cameo role in the Tina Turner biopic What's Love Got To Do With It; appearing on Late Night with Conan O'Brien with Allen Toussaint; and swinging as a member of the Dr. John horn section. For more info see this great writeup on Breeze here...
The Vamps (Jackson, MS)
“The Vamps” return this year with a swinging, funky set (highlighted by the astonishing guitar work of Barry Leach and smooth and soulful vocals of Adib Sabir) demonstrating why they are the Mid South’s premier soul-jazz group as well as a perennial festival favorite.
Southern Komfort (Jackson, MS)
Jackson’s award winning, high-energy, super soulful brass band “Southern Komfort” retuns once again for what has become an annual tradition: closing out the festival by leading the audience on a jazz parade through the main drag of the Township itself.
Jackson State University Jazz Ensemble
Under the direction of Dr. Russell Thomas, Jr.
Ridgeland High School Jazz Band
Madison Central High School Jazz Band
The Jazz Festival is the brainchild of Raphael Semmes (a mainstay in the metro music scene for decades) and Tripp Douglas (owner of Fusion Coffeehouse). After three years of hosting top-notch live jazz sessions at Fusion Coffeehouse, the crowds were easily overwhelming the small venue. So the logical next step was to take it "outside the box."
It took more than two years to get the event off the ground, but the big break came when Kerioth Corp. (developer of The Township at Colony Park) threw their weight behind it. And the event couldn't have happened without the support of the dozens of local sponsors.
The inaugural festival in 2008 was a huge success, with over 1,000 people enjoying jazz in the sun on May 30, 2008.
The crowds continued to grow as subsequent festivals featured headliners like Jason Marsalis and Mose Allison, Delfeayo Marsalis, and Ezra Brown.
The 2016 Township Jazz Festival promises to be the best yet!
For more details on the Township Jazz Festival and sponsorship opportunities email Tripp Douglas at Fusion Coffeehouse or call (601)-856-6001.