After a two-year hiatus, a famous Alabama jazz festival is about to return

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 4th Avenue Jazz Festival Sneak Peek will return to Birmingham’s historic 4th Avenue business district.

The day-long festival of music, art, food and vendors — which is free and open to the public — returns to the Historic District on Saturday, August 27, 2022.

The Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Festival is organized and managed by Urban Impact, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to local economic development and the revitalization of Birmingham’s Civil Rights District.

“I am thrilled with the excitement surrounding the return of the Taste of Fourth Avenue jazz festival in person,” Carla Youngblood, Urban Impact Birmingham’s chief operating officer, said in a press release. “It’s been a staple here in the Historic Fourth Avenue District for years and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back.”

(Courtesy of Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Fest)

During the time of segregation in Birmingham, the 4th Avenue business district was the hub of black commerce and culture. The neighborhood, which stretches from 3rd to 5th Avenue, was home to the Carver Theater (now home to the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame) and the Masonic Temple.

Seeking to celebrate the spirit of the neighborhood, the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, inspired by the “Taste of Chicago”, launched the first Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Festival in 2003. Now approaching its 19th year, the event is a partnership with Urban Impact and the taste of the board of 4th Avenue, Inc.

Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame Civil Rights Marker

The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame/Carver Theater marker along the Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail (Shauna Stuart | AL.com)

“Now more than ever, it’s time to make new memories with our loved ones,” said Dr. Leah Tucker, executive director of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and president of Taste of 4th Avenue, Inc., in the same Press release. . “The Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Festival provides the perfect opportunity to do just that with live jazz performances to lift our spirits. We invite everyone to attend this family event and bring joy back into our lives.

Nationally and locally renowned artists graced the festival stage including: Bobbi Humphrey, Kim Waters, Ben Tankard, Norman Brown, Euge Groove, Ronnie and Deborah Laws, Michael Ward, Joey Summerville, Dee-Lucas, the Birmingham Heritage Band , Bo Berry, Daniel “Jose” Carr, Lonnie Liston Smith, Roy Ayers and the Brass-A-Holics.

Festival organizers plan to release more information about the event in the coming months, including the list of artists and applications for vendors and volunteers. Updates will be available at 4thavenuejazz.orgas well as the festival instagram and Facebook accounts. The festival also accepts donations, which can be paid through the event website.

The Carver Theater and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame

The historic Carver Theater and Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame are set to reopen in the summer of 2022. (Shauna Stuart | AL.com)

The return of the Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Festival in August will complement the reopening of the historic Carver Theater and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. Both venues, which closed more than three years ago for renovations, are expected to reopen in early summer. Part of the historic AG Gaston Motel, another famous site in Birmingham’s Civil Rights District, is set to reopen with a ribbon cutting on June 30.

Willie J. Johnson