Lake Oconee News

Jazz Legacy Project to feature Art Blakey at Festival Hall

Lake Oconee News, March 17, 2023

Festival Hall in Greensboro presents the second show of the 2023 Jazz Series, The Jazz Legacy Project at 7:30 p.m. May 11, featuring Art Blakey, Father of Modern Jazz. Tickets go on sale March 20, at

A happy accident left Blakey and Horace Silver alone in a recording studio. It marked the beginning of the Hard Bop era and what followed was a band – The Jazz Messengers – that would essentially serve as a school for more than 20 of the greatest jazz musicians of all time.

“Art Blakey strongly believed that his role was to take your burdens off your shoulders for the brief time he had your attention,” Jazz Legacy Project bandleader and drummer Justin Varnes said. “We will honor his vision by inviting you to leave your worries at the door and tap your feet to his infectious music.”

The Jazz Legacy Project presented Cannonball Adderley, Preaching the Gospel of Jazz earlier this spring as the first in the four-part jazz series at Festival Hall this year. Each program lasts about 90 minutes, with the goal of bringing the casual jazz listener inside the minds and music of the most influential and interesting American musicians of all time.

The life and music of the artist/composer is entertainingly narrated by Varnes, with seminal jazz pieces played to illuminate the narration. These are not meant to be tribute concerts in the sense that the musicians are trying to recreate the original performances; rather they seek to celebrate the essence and accomplish- ments of the featured artist.

Tickets to The Jazz Legacy Project: Art Blakey, The Father of Modern Jazz, start at $22 for general admission. For tickets and more information, visit online at This program is sponsored in part by Visit Lake Oconee (

Sponsorship opportunities remain available for The Jazz Legacy Project Series. Email Nicole Chillemi at or call 762-243-8022 for more information.