Before it was a hip hop city, Jacksonville was a hotbed for another truly American art form. In the early 20th Century, jazz reverberated from the music venues of the city’s historically black neighborhood of LaVilla–also known as the Harlem of the South.
Today, with a handful of reputable jazz programs at local colleges and universities, a renowned annual festival, and a bevy of heavy hitting, highly sought after players calling the city home, Jacksonville still jives and swings–it arguably also bops, cooks, and boogie-woogies.
Yet, much like everything else, the shape of jazz to come in Northeast Florida looks a little different.
Enter WJCT’s newly launched Jacksonville Music Experience, a multi‑platform collection of services aimed at connecting listeners to local music. (Full disclosure: Void’s music podcast, THE VOIDCAST, was produced by WJCT and was part of the launch of JME.)
With the long-running Jacksonville Jazz Festival postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, starting Thursday WJCT will host Jazz Festival Weekend, a virtual festival featuring music from some of the biggest names in jazz across WJCT’s television, radio and online platforms. Highlights of the weekend’s virtual festivities include performances by local artists Mama Blue, JB Scott and the Lisa Kelly Quintet, and more on JME’s Facebook page , plus jazz all weekend long on 89.9FM.
“Jazz Festival Weekend is our way of providing jazz fans with the opportunity to enjoy the tradition of great music over the Memorial Day weekend, through a virtual experience,” said David Luckin, Music Director of WJCT. “We hope this programming through the Jacksonville Music Experience will bring a sense of normalcy and joy to listeners across the First Coast and beyond.”
More information about programming and how to listen is available at WJCT.org/jaxmusic. Click on and dig in!