Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Festival
The Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Festival is a one day jazz festival held annually since 2003 in Birmingham's Historic 4th Avenue District downtown. It is presented by the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and Urban Impact. Leah Tucker, executive director of the Jazz Hall of Fame chairs the festival. In addition to music, the event offers food, swing dance lessons and exhibits, as well as films in the Carver Theatre (as part of the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival). The festival features nationally known jazz artists and local jazz artists.
2009 headliners included bassist Cleve Eaton, flutist Bobbi Humphrey, guitarist Eric Essix, vocalist Tracy Hamlin, saxophonist Dee Lucas and singer/trumpeter Jafaar. Other performers included Infusion with James Crumb, Neo Jazz Collective, Rickey Powell, the Birmingham Heritage Band, Foxxy Fatts & Co., and Donald Witherspoon (as Billy Ocean)
The 2008 festival was held on September 27 on an expanded site which included parts of 4th Avenue and 17th Street. Scheduled performers included: Donald Witherspoon, the Neo Jazz Collective, On Purpose, Daniel Jose Carr, the Birmingham Heritage Band, Tekneek, Ona Watson, Dee Lucas, trumpeter Lew Soloff and the Ray Reach Quartet (with Cleveland Eaton on bass), guitarist Eric Essix with Joey Summerville and violinist Michael Ward, along with children's amusements, art displays, food and other attractions.
The 2007 festival was held on September 29 in conjunction with Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival with an estimated 6,000 - 10,000 attendees. It began with an opening parade at Kelly Ingram Park with Mayor Bernard Kincaid and Councilman William Bell officiating. Music started at 2:00 pm and continued until midnight. Performers included Jose Carr, The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame Youth Ensemble, Jerome Chapman, vocalist Annie Sellick with Ray Reach and Cleveland Eaton, Foxxy Fatts & Co, Gary Motley, Dee Lucas, Ronnie Laws, Debra Laws, Donald Witherspoon as "Billy Ocean" and the Birmingham Heritage Band. The festival also featured work by urban artists, a swing tent, and a re-creation of the Little Savoy Cafe.
The 2006 festival was held on September 23, the same weekend as the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival. It kicked off with a New Orleans style parade at 1:00 PM and continued with the New Orleans All-Stars, Tommy Stewart, Ray Reach and Friends, Foxxy Fatts & Co, Cleveland Eaton, Rolando Matias & the Afro Rican Ensemble featuring Bobby Matos, Johnny O'Neal, Eric Essix, Dee Lucas, the Birmingham Heritage Band, and Donald Witherspoon as "Billy Ocean." Other activities included a swing-dancing tent, a children's area, and food and gift vendors.
- Singleton, William C. (September 30, 2007) "Jazz lovers get a full taste at 4th Avenue Festival." The Birmingham News
- Velasco, Eric (September 28, 2008) "Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Festival brings diverse crowds to Birmingham." The Birmingham News