The Coastal Jazz Association (CJA) has unveiled the lineup for the 38th annual Savannah Jazz Festival, which will featuring 27 free performances highlighting regional, national and international jazz musicians, according to a press release.

Each year, the CJA shepherds in world-renowned musicians to play a host of free concerts in various venues around the Savannah Historic District. Running Sept. 22-28 this year, the festival will culminate with three days of music in Forsyth Park.

This year’s featured venues will include The Lucas Theatre for the Arts, Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, Mansion on Forsyth Park, the DeSoto Hotel, Rancho Alegre Cuban Restaurant and Forsyth Park.


Shows at the Lucas Theatre and Ships of the Sea will be $10 to cover rising production costs. Added features of the festival this year include several pop-up style shows on Tuesday and Wednesday at many partner venues, expanding the performances all over the city such as Coaches Corner, Homewood Suites, Good Times Jazz Bar and The Perry Lane Hotel.

“This year’s lineup is a highly diverse representation of genres, ages, and genders in keeping with the festival’s mission to unite people from all walks of life,” Coastal Jazz Association President and CEO of Benedetto Guitars Howard Paul said in the release. “We have been an entirely free festival for 37 years with the goal to make world-class music accessible to our entire community. Savannah’s long history in jazz music from hosting Duke Ellington to being the home of Johnny Mercer and Ben Tucker puts the Savannah Jazz Festival on the map of being a tradition that should carry on forever.”

Wednesday’s new Latin Dance Party tradition continues with Gino Castillo and the Cuban Cowboys at Ships of the Sea. Castillo is an Afro-Cuban percussionist and recipient of many top awards.

Forsyth Park acts include Vanessa Rubin with The Savannah Jazz Orchestra. A renowned jazz vocalist from Cleveland, Ohio. Vanessa was mentored by the great Etta James and Savannah Jazz Hall of Famer, Irene Reid.

Another strong female performer, Anat Cohen has been declared Clarinetist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association every year since 2007. Big Sam’s Funky Nation will energize the crowd in Forsyth Park. A New Orleans treasure, Big Sam’s Funky Nation merges funk and jazz and a healthy dose of call-and-response.

Other Forsyth Park acts include The Huntertones, this young up-and-coming act delivers horn-driven music that pleases crowds all over the world. Savannah Jazz Festival is pleased to welcome back the Afro Cuban jazz and salsa band, LPT to Savannah Jazz Fest for the second year in a row after their sold-out, high-energy performance at Jazz Fest’s 2018 Latin Dance Party.

The best local and regional performers, including Savannah Jazz Hall of Fame members, Teddy Adams, Howard Paul, Jody Espina, and Quentin Baxter who will make appearances alongside festival acts.


Performances from regional high schools and universities, a beloved festival day by so many, will take place on Sunday, Sept. 22 at the Lucas Theatre featuring Savannah Arts Academy Sky Lite Band, Savannah Country Day School Jazz Band, Savannah State University Jazz Band, Georgia Southern University Jazz Band, concluding with Teddy Adams Jam Session. A scholarship will be awarded to one or more recipients at this show.

“Extra efforts are being made to reach out to diverse audiences including underserved African-Americans, Hispanics, and Women,” explained Coastal Jazz Association Interim Executive Director, Paula Fogarty. “This year’s lineup is highly diverse. We are seeing solid year-over-year growth for this amazing music festival and anticipate more than 40,000 attendees in 2019.

“This festival is about so much more than entertainment; it is about uniting people of all walks of life peacefully through jazz music, improving the quality of life for all who attend and for the city of Savannah. The economic impact is significant as well, bringing in over $1.3 million dollars to our community’s businesses.”

Major investment for the festival is provided by the City of Savannah Department of Arts, Culture and Historical Resources, Savannah Area Ford Dealerships, Miner Family Wines, and Mr. Bob Faircloth.