|BACK||By: Cheryl Armour|
|May 28, 2011||Trombone Shorty Photos Here|
The 34th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival presents:
May 27, 2011
The 34th Annual Atlanta 2011 Jazz Festival presents:
AJF Late Night Jazz Jam
Saturday, May 28
@ Loews Atlanta Hotel - Ellington Ballroom
Grammy award-winning saxophonist Mike Phillips
Mike Phillips with special guest saxophonist Mike Burton and opening performance by Chandra Currelley $25/door.
Mike Phillips is in Atlanta this weekend for the 34th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival. Mike will be performing at the Loews Atlanta Hotel Saturday night. He stopped to talk with us about his career, performing with Prince and serving as the Ambassador for the Atlanta Jazz Festival.
SJM: Having just arrived in Atlanta from L.A. where you played several shows with Prince, would you like to start by telling us how you became a part of the New Power Generation?
Mike: I met Prince in 2003 when he came to one of my gigs. He asked me to sit in with him that night. I sat in with the band, and it was a pretty exciting time. I told him I’d like to play with him again and he said, “No problem.” A couple of months later he asked me to join him for the Musicology tour which was one of his most successful tours ever. Now he’ll call me up when he wants me to come do a show and I’ll go sit in with the band whenever my schedule allows.
SJM: You’ve worked with so many great musicians in your career. You’re probably the only person in the world to have recorded with Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Prince. Having achieved such a level of success so quickly in your career, what keeps you motivated to continue to push yourself forward to greater accomplishments?
Mike: That’s easy. It’s the pursuit of perfection. Some people might look at it and say I’ve reached the pinnacle of what it is to record with probably the Mt. Rushmore of music, but at the end of the day it’s something that happened yesterday. It has nothing to do with tomorrow’s pursuit of perfection and growth.
Prince Stevie Wonder Michael Jackson
SJM: Some of the shows you recently played with Prince were in small rooms. How is it different playing to a small, intimate group of people vs. a large crowd?
Mike: If you master how to play to a large crowd, you’ll be fine playing to anyone. You want to look for five things in your musicianship that you know the crowd will go crazy for. It could be something theatrical, something musical or a little bit of both. What are those five things and how can you incorporate them into your performance? You have to evenly space those things out throughout the show to keep everybody interested and happy. So you reach a pinnacle, you bring it back down and then you move it back up. You construct it to the point where you create a wave where everybody reaches those peaks and valleys together and you create a journey between the valley and the peaks. I think doing that will always keep the large crowds interested. You have to really take them on a journey.
SJM: Do you do much improvisation? Do you like to mix it up and surprise people so they don’t quite know what to expect?
Mike: My music director, Eric Parker, will tell you we’ve never played the same show twice. There’s always a small wrinkle or change in the set list. That’s one of the many things I’ve learned from Prince, there has to be another wrinkle that makes everything that you’re doing interesting. Of course there has to be a shell of structure, but you have to be creative inside of that shell.
SJM: I’ve been following you on Facebook and Twitter and enjoy how personable you are. How do you feel about social media and the impact it has had on your career?
Mike: People want authenticity. I think if you as an artist hide behind your management and you have people update your Facebook status or Twitter account for you, you’re missing out on an opportunity to really connect with your audience.
SJM: So many artists are now using the internet and social media to put their music out trying to make a name for themselves. Are there any up and coming artists that have caught your attention?
Mike: You have to commend artists like Lin Rountree, Farnell Newton and saxophonist Ryan Kilgore. These guys are doing whatever it takes to get their product out without any support from any label whatsoever.
SJM: Tell us about your role as the first ever Ambassador for the Atlanta Jazz Festival.
Mike: I’m honored that the City of Atlanta reached out and asked me to fill this role. I was in Atlanta when I first got signed to my record label, and I really honed my craft here. I played all the small clubs and honed my skills as a live performer. For the city to come back and say they wanted me to do this... I was absolutely honored.
SJM: Can you share with us a little bit about the workshops you’ve done in local public schools in your role as Ambassador for the Atlanta Jazz Festival?
Mike: We did some master classes where I spoke to the kids. We talked about life and how it relates to music and gave them a little bit of history about the Negro spiritual which branched out in two ways. People were so upset at the state of slavery that they responded in one of two ways. The first way was “God is going to make a way, just hang in there,” which led to gospel. And the other place it went was “I don’t know how I’m going to make it. I’m feeling so sad,” which led to the blues.
SJM: You will be performing this weekend at the Loew’s Hotel Atlanta as part of the Atlanta Jazz Festival. Are you looking forward to the show?
Mike: Yes, I brought in a new artist named Mike Burton who will perform with me. He’s been in a house band for years with Tyler Perry traveling with the play. He’s also played in some of Tyler Perry’s movies. He’s almost like Tyler Perry’s go to guy for the horn. I’m Pleased to be featuring him at this show.
SJM: So what upcoming projects can we look forward to seeing from you? Are there any other artists you look forward to collaborating with in the near future?
Mike: I’ve recorded with the Big 3 but got to tour with just two of them. I didn’t have an opportunity to tour with Michael Jackson since he passed before the tour began. The Michael Jackson estate contacted me and asked me to do an exclusive tour with Michael Jackson’s “The Immortal World Tour” show by Cirque du Soleil. The show will feature Michael Jackson’s music performed live with the Cirque du Soleil production. With Michael Jackson’s musical director, Greg Phillinganes at the helm I know the music will be phenomenal. Touring with Michael Jackson live would have been the greatest, but I have the ultimate consolation prize in doing this Cirque du Soleil tour and his image and his spirit will be all over the production.
For a complete schedule of the Atlanta Jazz Festival events and performers visit www.atlantafestivals.com and click the “Performers” tab.
|BACK||By: Cheryl Armour|
April 21, 2011
2011 Launch Party Features Mayor Reed
The City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs presents the 34th annual Atlanta Jazz Festival . A preview party was held on Thursday, April 21st at the Loews Atlanta Hotel - the official hotel for the 2011 Atlanta Jazz Festival. The evening included a food tasting from eight local restaurants, Grey Goose cocktails and a musical performance by the JC Young Middle School’s Jazz Ensemble with Special Guest, Grammy-nominated trum-peter, . It was also announced that a free iphone app will be available for the first time this year! Users will have access to the Atlanta Jazz Festival events on their ipod or iphone. The app is scheduled to be released in early May.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, City Council President Ceasar Mitchell and Office of Cultural Affairs Director Camille Love were on hand to help kick off the festivities.
"Piedmont Park, , our sponsors and partners make it possible to present a world-class experience for residents and visitors. When you look at the festival's unique commitment to jazz in its purest form, it is exciting for the Atlanta Jazz Festival to be a catalyst for introducing emerging talent. has become a premier destination for jazz and entertain-ment," said Camille Russell Love. "Our long-standing partner-ships with We work hard to stay ahead-of-the-curve and to create an experience that presents cutting edge talent."
"I am truly excited to celebrate the 34th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival," said Mayor Reed. “This annual tradition embodies the legacy of one of America’s greatest art forms, while serving as the premier outlet for a new generation to embrace the jazz culture.”
Regarded as one of the country’s largest , this annual celebration showcases jazz legends as well as up-and-coming jazz artists. The mission of the Atlanta Jazz Festival is to expose and entertain a diverse audience of Jazz aficionados, young Jazz enthusiasts and aspiring musicians to the rich heritage and variety of Jazz as an authentic form of traditional music. The Atlanta Jazz Festival provides the City with an opportunity to unify Atlanta’s diverse population, to celebrate Atlanta’s heritage and to promote tourism.
The 2-day Memorial Day weekend concert held in Piedmont Park tops off 31 days of Jazz in Atlanta featuring live jazz performances at venues across the city throughout the month of May. Grammy Award winning saxophonist, has joined as the first ever Atlanta Jazz Festival Ambassador. The addition of the Budweiser International Jazz Stage will bring Latin Jazz, Bossa Nova and other globally inspired jazz genres to the festival for all to enjoy. A bonus third day has been added to the Jazz Festival weekend this year. Come out to Center Stage for Jazz under the stars featuring performances by . Tickets available through Ticketmaster or charge by phone:
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