Back in March, it looked like the newly-etablished Jazz Artists of Charleston (JAC) were planning to present the second annual Upstairs at Mistral — a 13-night jazz series at the Market Street venue — and another spectacular Holy City Homecomin’ concert event in conjunction with Piccolo Spoleto.
This month, JAC execs Leah Suárez and Jack McCray (pictured) confirmed that the JAC had amicably disconnected from Piccolo Spoleto and planned to independently present the series at Mistral and the Holy City Homecomin’ themselves. While Piccolo Spoleto’s Blues & Jazz schedule still includes a variety of jazz, world, blues, and soul acts in late May and early June, these JAC events are basically non-adjacent jazz gigs happening simultaneously.
The JAC is a non-profit organization that includes “local performing and visual artists, fans, advocates and creative people.” Governed by an eight-member board, they produce jazz events year round in the Charleston area.
Scheduled for Tues. June 2 at 7 p.m. at the Charleston Music Hall (37 John St.) the Holy City Homecomin’ — is grand big-band performance and discussion session. Last year, the first Homecomin’ concert featured a mix of musicians and bands, with the Gradual Lean guys on hand throughout. This year it looks like a big-band thing with the Charleston Jazz Orchestra and guest conductor Bob Belden, a musician (mostly woodwinds), composer, and arranger. Originally from Goose Creek, Belden studied at the University of North Texas before working with Woody Herman’s Orchestra, Donald Byrd, the Mel Lewis Orchestra, and Red Rodney, among others in the 1980s and ’90s. He’s most celebrated for his knack for transforming non-jazz material into jazz. Hardcore jazz fans who are interested in hearing a grand execution of fresh musical ideas, learning bits of local jazz history, and witnessing high technique will get a kick out of this event.
See www.jazzartistsofcharleston.org for ticket prices and more info.
(top photo by T. Ballard Lesemann)