Phil Morrison Trio featuring Joey Watts
America’s indigenous art form of jazz music is like no other. It has been uniting all races, all cultures, and all creeds since its dawn in the late nineteenth century. The unification of cultures through jazz music is the root of the Coastal Jazz Association’s mission.
Founded in 1981 by a group of local jazz lovers, The Coastal Jazz Association has been promoting and supporting jazz music and musicians through an all-volunteer non-profit organization, fostering and bringing world-class jazz music to Savannah. The history of jazz in Savannah is as rich as, and developed concurrently with, that of New Orleans, although it has perpetuated a decidedly more sea-island sound.
Jazz greats have been nurtured in Savannah since its inception at the turn of the nineteenth century including Louis Armstrong’s mentor, Joe “King” Oliver, Johnny Mercer, Jabbo Smith, ben Tucker, Ken Palmer, Huxsie Scott, Irene Reid, Willie Draper, Teddy Adams, and many others. Savannah’s jazz scene has been perpetuated by the Coastal Jazz Association since its inception, providing scholarships to the next generation of jazz musicians and in the form of monthly concerts for the community and our signature event, The Savannah Jazz Festival, which is the Lowcountry’s only week-long entirely free festival, in the spirit of uniting all cultures through jazz music.
The Savannah Jazz Festival — The Lowcountry’s Only Free Music Festival, Uniting all Cultures for 35 Years!
Produced and orchestrated by the Coastal Jazz Association for 35 years, the Savannah Jazz Festival is sponsored in part by the City of Savannah’s Department of Cultural Affairs — a free week-long program taking place in venues throughout the city, culminating in three days in Forsyth Park, and traditional ‘after-hours’ jam sessions around town.