Exploring Diversity Through Music: Atlanta Jazz Festival 2016

Summer has officially begun in the Peach state and what better way to celebrate than with a relaxing yet eclectic weekend at the park with friends and family?

Memorial Day weekend began with one of Atlanta's most popular summer music festivals - the Jazz Festival. Piedmont Park, located in Midtown Atlanta, hosted thousands of families in an effort to unite various communities with the sound of jazz. But don't worry if jazz isn't exactly your kind of music. The festival showcases all styles of jazz artists that fuse their skill with numerous influences, each creating a unique sound and irresistibly good time.

Although this year's line-up was jam-packed with incredible artists, there was one act in particular that caught my attention. Featured at one of the three stages - International, Local and Main - was an Atlanta native, Joe Alterman. He performed alongside two other artists creating the Joe Alterman Trio. Their familiar yet unique style was intriguing and kept me engaged throughout the entire concert.

Although new to jazz music, I could not ignore the talent I witnessed at the local stage Sunday afternoon. Joe Alterman's style on the keys was the highlight of their set. He pushed every note to the edge with each key he pressed yet that playfulness kept me wondering where he was going to take the music next! His strong, fearless and playful attitude on the piano reminded me a lot of Monty Alexander (one of the first artists I heard when introduced to jazz). Alterman has a great technique and is very skilled, which allowed him to create a fun set for Sunday's concert.

Among Joe Alterman Trio were many other artists that accompanied my ears as I strolled through the park admiring the vendors' products and delicious drinks. With a summer heat like Atlanta's, it is without a doubt that food and drinks will be present at the free, family-friendly event. Popular dishes like jerk pork were sold subsequent to refreshing piña coladas (they were served in an actual pineapple)! The music and food was great but you couldn't miss out on the art and clothing sold by vendors. Many talented artists premiered their paintings while others displayed their handmade accessories.

Atlanta's Jazz Festival was a success this summer but it's only the beginning. So I hope you all enjoy many of the numerous summer events hosted by the city of Atlanta!
Looking for places to eat? Events to attend? Click here for a helpful site listing Atlanta's summer hotspots.