The story of the Savannah Jazz Festival begins with the founding of the Coastal Jazz Association in 1982. The CJA began as a result of a jazz appreciation class offered at Savannah State University by bassist Ben Tucker and trombonist Teddy Adams. The Savannah Jazz Festival was founded the next year to give a public outlet to the music and musicians that the CJA supported, and it has become an institution in the jazz scene of the Southeast. The SJF has been a free festival since its founding, and has featured such jazz legends as Lionel Hampton, Maynard Ferguson, Art Blakey and McCoy Tyner, among many others. In addition to its dedication to bringing one of America’s only true native art forms to the public awareness, the SJF remains committed to giving an outlet to Savannah’s own jazz community, and nurturing its local talent.
Savannah Jazz Festival Information
- Venue: Main stage in Forsyth Park; various other performances in venues throughout Savannah
- Public Transportation: Most venues accessible by Savannah’s CAT bus system; for more details, see catchacat.org
- Handicapped Accessibility: Varies depending on venue
- Performances/Programs: Over 20 performances and events programmed over one week
- Admission: All events in Forsyth Park are free and open to the public; some events outside the park may have a small admittance fee.