• May 23, 2024
  • Rydr
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) – It is the rhythm that got Group Centric into jazz.

“I grew up playing jazz, ever since elementary school,” said Stephon Williams with Group Centric.

“I have played drums, oh my god, since I was 4 or 5 years old,” said Brien Andrews, another bandmember.

Joel Powell said he got involved in jazz band in middle school.

“I grew up, my mom and dad, grandfather, grandmother, my whole family is jazz oriented,” Donnie Boynton, another Group Centric bandmember, said.

And it is the rhythm that has kept them playing.

“When you think of jazz, there are so many genres that are included in that from gospel to blues. R&B comes from jazz, even rap comes from jazz,” said Mike Jones, another member of Group Centric.

Said Williams: “Music is like a language and I feel like jazz is the most expressive way to get there…it is just about communication,” said

Groove Centric is a local band getting ready to play in the upcoming Atlanta Jazz Festival. The festival is completely free. Organizers said it is considered one of the largest free jazz festivals in the country. Everybody is invited and people from all over the world attend. Organizers expect more than 150,000 people to attend over the weekend.

Many said it is more than a festival. There are family reunions, birthday celebrations, and engagements. It is also common to see at least three generations of a family attend.

“To be recognized as a jazz musician where you are living, where your family can actually see you,” said Powell.

For Grove Centric, jazz is a way of connecting, of saying something new.

“For this large audience to hear and embrace the stuff that we came up with and we created, is so so so good,” Jones said while laughing.

The Atlanta Jazz Festival is May 25-27 at Piedmont Park. The first day starts at 1 p.m. For more information on the Atlanta Jazz Festival, click here.

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