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Established in 1978, the Atlanta Jazz Festival has become a tradition that draws music lovers from all around the region to experience the latest and greatest in jazz music culture. Mayor Maynard Jackson founded the original jazz festival with the idea to spotlight jazz in the city, because, as he said, “Jazz music is America’s only original art form, and…Atlanta, with its growing reputation as an international center of the arts and education, has both the opportunity and the responsibility to promote an art form whose roots are indigenous to the South.”

Since then, Atlanta Jazz Festival has hosted luminaries of the jazz music tradition including, Lionel Hampton (1980), Dizzy Gillespie (1988/1990), Wynton Marsalis (1989), Nina Simone (2000), Ray Charles (2002), Miles Davis (1983), Herbie Hancock (2000) and many, many more. CLICK HERE to view the full history of performers.

The city’s commitment to present a free jazz festival, as it was originally named “The Atlanta Free Jazz Festival,” is representative of a commitment to ensure that everyone who resides in and visits Atlanta will have easy access to high quality cultural experiences.