Through Cameron Lee
April 27, 2021
Usually around this time of year, the Charlotte Jazz Festival is in full swing with a variety of jazz-related events all over Uptown. Things are now obviously muted due to the pandemic, but JazzArts Charlotte still brings a ray of musical hope to Victoria Yards on Friday 30 April. The outdoor venue will host Jazz at Victoria Yards, a free event that will feature an impressive line-up of music headlined by talented singer Vanessa Ferguson, best known as an NBC semi-finalist The voice in 2017. Ferguson was also recently featured on The Water concert series produced by Come Hear NC. The show, filmed at Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina showcased Ferguson’s versatility as an artist. Ferguson followed up the special appearance with a full “Ferguson sings Nina Simone” concert for JazzArts Charlotte’s Jazz Room in November 2019.
Friday night’s event will bring the fun back to Uptown with an outdoor stage, beer by Resident Culture Brewing and food trucks for a free family celebration of music. The event crowns Jazz Appreciation Month and honors International Jazz Day.
Joining Ferguson on stage throughout the evening will be the Reggie Sullivan Trio, JazzArts All-Stars, trumpeter Al Strong and Jesters & Tyrants, with multi-instrumentalist Ryan Saranich and special guest Adrian Crutchfield, a former Prince touring saxophonist.
The Reggie Sullivan Trio from South Carolina will kick off the event with a jazz standard sets followed by JazzArts Charlotte’s own JazzArts All-Stars featuring Olivia Ratliff on bass, Gustavo Cruz on saxophone, Holland Majors on piano and Trey Tarzia/Samuel David on drums.
Following the recent release of his moving musical and visual arrangement of “Live Every Voice and Sing”, mainstay of the Raleigh-Durham jazz scene and renowned trumpeter and composer, Al Strong will present a special set of progressive jazz for the evening. Strong also co-founded the jazz association, The Art of Cool Project, which aims to preserve jazz through live performances and educational initiatives.
Multi-instrumentalist, Ryan Saranich, has come a long way from his musical beginnings at the Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte, after studying at Berklee College of Music, Saranich has also toured internationally with the Pink Floyd tribute show, Brit Floyd. Friday, Saranich and his Jesters & Tyrants will perform an energizing jazz fusion set with special guest Adrian Crutchfield, which played and recorded with the late Grand Prince from 2012 to 2016.
For jazz fans and live music aficionados, Friday night will bring a sense of normalcy to Uptown despite the unique location and setup. With a superb free music lineup, the event will hopefully mark the first of many exciting live music gatherings in the city.
Jazz at Victoria Yards will take place on Friday, April 30 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 408 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28202, located across from Duckworth’s at the corner of N. Tryon St. and 7th St.
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