Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Artists of ATL's Sunset Jazz and the Bios Who Love Them

On August 18 at 6:00 EDT, Atlanta's Delta Classic Chastain Park Ampitheater will present Sunset Jazz (event page). I get excited to see an event title like this one. National-scene artists are hard to come by in the south, and when it's billed as jazz, I tend to expect (for some reason) music from at least the middle of the spectrum. But these are smooth jazz, instrumental pop, and R&B artists and, with one exception, are outside of my usual listening rotation. That being said, this should be a very entertaining show. But they might think about changing the name to Sunset Jazzy.

I would like to survey the opening sentences from the bios, displayed on the Ampitheater's event page, of the six featured artists. I hear that successful musicians are often beholden to managers, publicists and record labels who have great influence on what gets put out there about them. So any implied criticism is not necessarily directed at the performers. As a writer and editor of artist bios, mainly for the series I coordinate at the museum, I could certainly produce some criticism, but I won't. Instead, I'll highlight one that to me stands out as being good. It's from the one artist who has actually established himself as an accomplished improvisor, who wields a sound that I think defines a subset of jazz, and whose influence I hear throughout the genre. I've put his last.

"Women love Will Downing. And men love the women who love Will Downing."

"Her name is legendary." (Lalah Hathaway)

"After eleven inspired albums that have passionately surveyed a broad spectrum of musical styles and prominently featured many of music’s finest players, R&B/Jazz multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson decided to keep conceptualism to a minimum and simply title his twelfth album XII (the Roman numeral for twelve)."

"Gerald Albright began to master his talent by working extensively in the studio with such artists as Patrice Rushen, Anita Baker, Ray Parker, Jr., Lola Folana, Atlantic Starr, The Winans, Olivia Newton-John, The Temptations, and Maurice White."

"GRAMMY® Award winner Norman Brown is on close intimate terms with his audience."

"One of the most commercially successful American saxophonists to earn prominence since the 1980s, David Sanborn has released 24 albums, won six Grammy Awards, and has had eight Gold albums and one Platinum album."

Anyway, the truly great David Sanborn will be there, and I'll list the websites of all the artists below so you can check them out. There's some good music here.

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