The Novel T’s Pine Bluff Summer Jazz Festival, a celebration of jazz in its different forms, kicked off June 1 and provided a weeklong opportunity for seasoned jazz enthusiasts, and new jazz enthusiasts, to enjoy fun, relaxing activities.
Organized by Kenneth and Sandra Fisher, owners of Novel T’s, this year’s seven-day festival opened with a concert at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Business Support Incubator.
New to this year’s festival was a Sunday Jazz event, which was held June 2 at First United Methodist Church.
The opening reception on Tuesday, hosted by Fathers & Sons Clothiers, included light snacks, beverages, and jazz music playing in the background. The free event was an opportunity to socialize and set the mood for the festival.
Open Mic Nite, held Wednesday at the UAPB Business Support Incubator, gave participants a chance to showcase their talents using jazz history, themes, rhythms, or rhymes.
On Thursday, the sweets sounds of jazz could be heard as visitors walked through the doors of The Pines mall Food Court as the festival brought jazz to the streets during “The Skreet Jam.”
Fran Dalton, a lover of jazz music, could be seen rocking and tapping her foot to the beat.
“I’ve been to just about all of them (events). I only missed one,” she said. Dalton said she also planned to attend the concerts that would close out the week’s events.
Anthony Ward Sr. displayed his love of jazz music as he clapped and danced around the food court.
“I love jazz music. Ken and I are friends and every year I come and help him with it,” he said.
Sandra Fisher said the intent of the jazz festival is to showcase the different forms of jazz, while at the same time, bring attention to the businesses that have partnered with them to present the event.
“The different businesses partnered with us in an effort to get people out to their businesses,” she said.
The week also included seminars, social events and concerts. Each entertaining event featured skillful, artistic presentations and performances from knowledgeable and exciting musicians.
Especially important, according to Sandra Fisher, is the education component of the festival. “The education component is key because some people just couldn’t understand doing a jazz event on Sunday.”
She said the education component, held Saturday at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, “was an opportunity to teach the history of jazz.”
The festival wrapped up Saturday with the Main Event at the Pine Bluff Convention Center Auditorium. The jazz concert featured music by the Arkansas Jazz Orchestra, J. Phil and Rodney Block and The Real Music Lovers.