IF YOU GO
What: Bessie Smith Heritage Festival.
When: Saturday -- arts marketplace, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; concert, 6 p.m.-midnight. Sunday -- artist talk, 3-4 p.m.; concert, 6-11 p.m.
Where: Bessie Smith Cultural Center, 200 E. M.L. King Blvd.
Admission: Concerts either night $25 in advance, $35 at the door; daytime events are free.
Note: The BSCC will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today for advance ticket sales.
10 a.m.-4 p.m. "Bessie's Arts on Ninth Street" (free)
6 p.m.-midnight. Neo Soul Night (ticketed event)
3-4 p.m. Artist talk with Jeff Lorber
6-11 p.m. Jazz Night (ticketed event)
The annual Bessie Smith Heritage Festival marks its fifth year with an expanded schedule and music from blues, neo soul and jazz artists.
The celebration of culture, music and visual arts will take place over two days this weekend utilizing space inside and outside the M.L. King Boulevard facility that honors the "Empress of the Blues."
Events kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday with a free arts show, "Bessie's Arts on Ninth Street," on the grounds of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. Families are invited to stroll among the booths to peruse the art and other merchandise, enjoy foods from a variety of vendors and listen to entertainment by Rick Rushing and the Blues Strangers on the lawn.
Neo Soul Night follows at 6 p.m., featuring performances by New Orleans brass and soul band The Michael Foster Project, blues recording artist Dedra Ruff & the Ruff Pro Band, jazz singer/musical director Joe Johnson and New York neo soul and jazz artist Rashaan Patterson.
Sunday features an afternoon artist talk at 3 p.m. Participants will engage in a discussion with Grammy-nominated jazz pianist, composer and producer Jeff Lorber. The event is free, but reservations are encouraged.
Lorber, as well as Johnson from Saturday, also will be among the performers for Sunday's Jazz Night concert, from 7 to 11 p.m. Also performing are Memphis neosoul artist and Apollo performer Karen Brown and jazz pianist Alex Bugon.