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Arturo O'Farrill

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Jazzanooga

If you go

Note: Tickets are available to headliner shows for $20 to $30 each. The $100 VIP pass grants premium seating at all headliner performances, a festival T-shirt and swag bag and a complimentary drink each evening. For more information, visit www.jazzanooga.org.

PechaKucha
When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. today, April 21.

Where: Jazzanooga Arts Space, 431 E. M.L. King Blvd.

Admission: Free, but tickets required due to limited seating.

Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Octet
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 22.

Where: The Camp House, 149 E. M.L. King Blvd.

Admission: $30.

Note: After-party at Jazzanooga Arts Space, 431 E. M.L. King Blvd.

The Christian McBride Trio with opening act Chantae Cann
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, April 23.

Where: Chattanooga Choo Choo Centennial Theater, 1400 Market St.

Admission: $30.

Note: After-party at Jazzanooga Arts Space, 431 E. M.L. King Blvd.

Julian Lage with opening act Julie Dexter
When: 5 p.m. Sunday, April 24.

Where: Revelry Room, 1400 Market St.

Admission: $20.

Shane Morrow is a Chattanooga Renaissance man — musician, playwright and creator of one of the city's most popular festivals, Jazzanooga.

Last week, he was immersed in rehearsals for a musical play he wrote based on the life of Big Mama Thornton that was performed by Azusa "SheShe" Dance, a former Chattanoogan who has sung and danced in Broadway's version of "The Color Purple." When Morrow asked her to play Thornton, she flew to Chattanooga and belted out the songs in the Bessie Smith Cultural Center one night last week. That's the kind of loyalty Morrow inspires and the sort of excitement performers feel participating in Jazzanooga.

"If people haven't heard of her yet, they will soon because she is bound to be a star," Morrow says. "All of our Jazzanooga performers are nationally and internationally known stars or about to be that well known."

This year's Jazzanooga takes its stars and inspiration from all over the world. Before a weekend of headliners, Chattanoogans can enjoy a version of Japan's nerve-shredding entertainment called PechaKucha tonight, April 21, in the Jazzanooga Arts Space.

In Japan, artists, designers, musicians or performers who play PechaKucha each get to show 20 slides for 20 seconds per slide to illuminate their creativity and what makes them a star. The players can talk, sing or play an instrument to accompany the images. A worldwide phenomenon, PechaKucha has showcased street art in Bogota, high fashion in Australia and a city's emotionally stirring effort to recover from violent riots in Yemen.

Friday, April 22, will feature Afro-Cuban jazz pianist and composer Arturo O'Farrill, who won a Grammy last year and is nominated for two more this year. His concert at The Camp House will feature a combo of piano, trumpet, sax, brass and drums.

Saturday, April 23, Grammy-winning bassist Christian McBride will lead his trio through soulful jazz with the perfect opening act, Chantae Cann, a singer whose voice is described by one music critic as the aural equivalent of "a warm spring day, the fragrance just before it rains." Their concert will take place in the Centennial Theater at the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Sunday, April 24, offers Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist and composer Julian Lage in the Centennial Theater at Revelry Room. A child prodigy, the 28-year-old has been a faculty member at the Stanford Jazz Workshop at Stanford University since age 15.

Opening the show is British singer Julie Dexter, who cites chanteuses Nancy Wilson and Abbey Lincoln as well as Bob Marley as her influences. She was honored at the Black Women in Jazz Awards recently for her powerful jazz-shaped skill with bossa nova, reggae, Afro beat, broken beat and soul.

Contact Lynda Edwards at ledwards@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6391.

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