The story of jazz has been the story of change. Originating in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the hybrid genre has evolved from blues, ragtime, hot jazz, swing, bebop, smooth jazz and the list goes on.
When I think of the “who’s who” of jazz giants Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and my personal favorite, Miles Davis, come to mind, they were fearless musicians who showed the world where music came from and what music could be.
Jazz is coming back to Fayetteville. Up & Coming Weekly, Beasley Media Group and The Sandhills Jazz Society present the All-American City Jazz Festival on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 6 p.m. at Festival Park in downtown Fayetteville.
“The purpose of the jazz festival is to raise money for the Sandhills Jazz Society and our mission is to bring music back in schools,” said Tina Turner, event director of the All-American City Jazz Festival. “We want to start doing workshops for high school and middle school students.”
“Our first jazz festival was in 2019, but due to the pandemic this is the first year that we are able to bring it back. We really believe that jazz is one of the original art forms as far as music goes,” said Turner. “A lot of music has derived from jazz and many people do not realize there are so many types of jazz out there.”
The event features Brian Simpson, Lindsey Webster, Jeanette Harris and Terence Young. Up and Coming Weekly had the pleasure of speaking with Terence Young, smooth jazz guitarist and Brian Simpson, jazz pianist.
Born in Elko, South Carolina, with roots in quartet gospel music, Terence Young has been playing the guitar for 40 years.
His passion for music began at the tender age of 5, and he credits his uncles, who are musicians and influencers of his musical journey. Over the course of 40 years, 14 albums and scores of concert performances, fans travel from all over the world for the Terence Young Experience. His latest album, The Playlist, was released in April 2022.
“The Playlist is a collaboration of songs that people have been requesting me to play through my years of performing that include cover songs and original songs that people love to hear me play,” said Terence Young. “I like my music to feel good and I make it melodic so that people are able to process it in their mind and spirit.” He added, “My uncles taught me that if you don’t feel what you are playing, you can’t expect anyone else to feel it.”
And what can the audience expect from Young at the jazz festival?
“They should expect an experience that is a bit different from the norm,” said Young. “It is going to be real intense, funky and sensual,” he said.
For more information about Terence Young, visit https://www.terenceyoungmusic.com/.
With humble beginnings in Gurnee, Illinois, Brian Simpson had a love for music and the piano.
“Both of my parents loved jazz and my dad had a sizable record collection,” said Brian Simpson, jazz pianist and artist at the All American City Jazz Festival. “I grew up where we would have a weekend party and there would be a couple of jazz guitar players who were his friends in the yard jamming away.”
Simpson added that one of his dad’s musician friends would take him to music stores and on gigs where he would perform in the city, allowing him to see what it was like to be a working musician.
Simpson started taking piano lessons at the age of 10.
“Normally piano players learn classical music first, but I have a zero classical background in music,” said Simpson. “My early books were fake books with chord symbols and a melody and this is what jazz musicians would use to do a gig.”
“This was my early learning about jazz and I did not know if I was ever going to make a living out of it, but I certainly was going to try,” he said.
He graduated as a music major from Northern Illinois University and moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1986 to pursue a career in music. His latest album, Soul
Connection was released in June 2023.
“When it came out it was the number one jazz album on iTunes Jazz,” said Simpson. “The magic behind romantic songs is when you find these harmonies and I know that if it is making me feel something, then it is probably going to do that to other people.”
For more information about Brian Simpson, visit https://bsimpsonmusic.com/.
The Sandhills Jazz Society is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit arts/educational organization whose mission is to promote interest in jazz music across multiple generations, to actively engage a new generation in the efforts of the Society and to have fun producing a financially viable annual All-American City Jazz Festival.
“Three of us started the Sandhills Jazz Society in 2018 and we knew that we wanted to do something but we could not figure out what it was,” said Turner. “We knew there was a need for it so we started the nonprofit with a main focus in music education and appreciation.”
“The audience should expect to have a good time and it is going to be a lot of fun,” said Turner.
“We are getting a lot of calls from people in other states who have purchased their tickets and hopefully the community will embrace the out-of-town visitors that are coming to town for it.”
Gates open at 4 p.m. for this rain-or-shine event. General admission is $35 and VIP is $100. For tickets and information, call 910-987-2426 or visit www.SandhillsJazz.com.