SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The 40th annual Savannah Jazz Festival continued Saturday with a jam-packed lineup.
The night’s performers hailed from across the East Coast, from Jacksonville, Florida, up to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and cities in between.
Organizers have scaled back this year’s in-person audience due to local COVID-19 guidelines. But the festival has teamed up once again with WSAV to stream every performance live online for free.
Watch the second night of the festival live on this page starting at 3 p.m. ET.
Rewatch the performances from the second night of the festival below and visit wsav.com/savannahjazzfestival to catch the rest of the shows.
The Shawn Purcell Quintet
Shawn Purcell, originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a jazz guitarist, educator, arranger and composer in the Washington D.C. region.
The proud Benedetto Guitars performing artist has shared the stage with Terell Stafford, Nicholas Payton, Tim Warfield, Sean Jones, Brian Charette, Regina Carter, The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, The Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra and many others.
Purcell can be heard on over 30 recordings, including Chip McNeill’s “The Whirl,” Steve Fidyk’s “Heads Up!” and “Allied Forces,” and Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra’s Prime Time, featuring Doc Severinsen.
Purcell has spent over 17 years as a member of the military big bands in Washington DC. From 1996-2004, he was the guitarist in the U.S. Air Force jazz ensemble, The Airmen of Note. During his time with “The Note,” Purcell performed throughout the world including England, Germany, Turkey, Luxembourg, The Azores, Belgium, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Kuwait and Bahrain.
He is currently the guitarist with the Washington D.C.-based U.S. Navy Band “Commodores” jazz ensemble.
Savannah Jazz Hall of Fame Band
Always one of the highlights of the festival, the Savannah Jazz Hall of Fame All-Stars performance will feature inductees Teddy Adams, Howard Paul, Huxsie Scott, Delbert Felix and Randall Reese.
Legends in the Hall of Fame include Johnny Mercer, Jabbo Smith, King James Oliver and Ben Tucker, among many others.
To be considered for induction, members must have some kind of impact on the regional, national and international levels.
John Lee with Laurence Hobgood
John Lee, a legendary American jazz bassist and Grammy Award-winning producer, started his career in 1970. He’s worked with some of the biggest stars, including Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, James Moody, Aretha Franklin, Gregory Hines and many more.
Lee has produced over 60 albums and CDs since 1977, and as a recording engineer, has recorded and mixed over 100 albums and CDs.
He became Dizzy Gillespie’s bassist in 1984, touring and recording with Dizzy’s Quintet, his Big Band, and his Grammy-winning United Nation Orchestra. In 1996, Lee became the director and bassist of the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars and the Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Cuban Experience. They have recorded five albums and toured extensively around the world.
Joining Lee on stage this year is special guest Laurence Hobgood, a world-renowned and Grammy-award-winning jazz pianist. His CD “When the Heart Dances,” a duet recording with iconic bassist Charlie Haden, received worldwide acclaim earning 4-star reviews. His 2013 Christmas CD is a refreshing take on overplayed holiday standards and was listed as one of the top Holiday CDs of the year.
Savannah Jazz organizers say his renowned and recognizable deep piano stylings will bring great depth and mood to Lee’s performance are sure to make it one for the festival books.
U.S. Navy Band Commodores
The tribute to America’s great military bands features perhaps the top big band, The U.S. Navy Band Commodores. This 18-piece band has been entertaining crowds and military members for 50 years.
Some of the top legends in American music have accompanied them, including Ray Charles, Brandford Marsalis, Clark Terry, Grover Washington, Jr. and Savannah Jazz Hall of Fame member James Moody.
The Commodores are always on call for major national events and memorials. Their high-energy performances are legendary.
Terry “Doc” Handy
Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Terry “Doc” Handy credits his older brother’s love for the piano for driving him to become a musician.
Handy has played percussion for over 30 years over a diverse array of genres including R&B, jazz and Latin jazz. He’s performed globally in Europe, Korea and Panama.
Handy has also been selected as the opening performance for many greats, including James Brown, Aaran Neville, Macy Gray, Kool and the Gang, Kirk Whalum, Brian Culbertson and EL Gran Combo. He is most inspired by percussionists Ralph McDonald, Giovanni Hidalgo and Bill Summers.
Handy, aka “Mr. Jazz Festival,” lights it up everywhere he performs. His uniqueness as a conga drum musician is his captivating ability to fuse Afro-Cuban percussion with jazz to create an infectious swing that leaves his audiences in a spell-bound groove.
Savannah Jazz Divas with the Savannah Jazz Orchestra
Savannah is home to some of the greatest female jazz vocalists, including Savannah Jazz Hall of Fame members Huxsie Scott and Irene Reid. Joining the Savannah Jazz Orchestra big band this year are three Divas of Savannah.
Priscilla Albergottie Williams has been showcased internationally in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart, Germany, as well as a plethora of performances in the United States.
Cynthia Utterbach, a native of New Jersey, has performed all over the world, starting in Europe to perform in the musical production “The Buddy Holly Story” in Hamburg, and has since performed throughout Europe as a jazz vocalist at festivals and clubs. Utterbach cites as her main inspiration Sarah Vaughan, and certainly, she has a comparable warm sonority in the low register.
Stephanie Nakasian — listed in the Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz as one of the world’s leading jazz singers — toured extensively with the jazz master and her mentor Jon Hendricks. Often compared to jazz greats, it’s Nakasian’s clean and clear tones that have given rise to her popularity, while her ability to perform the standards transports listeners to another place in time.