May 20 – 28, 2001 and Memorial Weekend festivities loomed over a city in anticipation of another great year. The cavalcade of tents, chairs, blankets, baskets, coolers, grills, sunscreen and sunglasses are evidence of jazz fans head into the various parks and venues for free jazz under the sun and starry skies. This year they performed in Piedmont Park, Centennial Olympic Park, Woodruff Park, Chastain Park Amphitheatre, Variety Playhouse, Churchill Grounds, Sambuca Jazz Cafe, Borders, Park Tavern, Gilbert House, the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Atrium and Underground Atlanta.
It’s the 24th annual celebration and the fourth year Camille Russell Love is at the helm of the Bureau of Cultural Affairs. Her programming is impressive and the lineup impeccable as she brought to bear upon a city the talents of local favorites, new names and renowned national and international performers including Afro Rican Ensemble, Afroblue, Army Ground Forces Band, Arturo Sandoval, Audrey Shakir, Babatunde Lea, Bernard Linnette, Bilal Suni Ali, Bill Anschell, Bob James, Brian Blade Fellowship, Cassandra Wilson, Charles Flores Quartet, Chucho Valdes, Darren Winters, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dennis Springer, Dr. Didg, Expressions, Georgia State University Faculty Band, Imani, Jacques Lesure Quartet, Joe Jennings Life Force, Karla McAlpine, Ken Ford, Loston Harris, Medeski Martin and Wood, Michael Franks, Miguel Romero, Najuma, Ojeda Penn Experience, Orquestra Nova Sound, Patti Austin, Phil Davis Quartet, Poncho Sanchez, René Marie, Rick Bell Quintet, Russell Gunn, Saskia Laroo, Seven, Sheila E, Sonny Rollins, Terence Blanchard, The Chronicle, Tommie Macon & the Gentlemen of Jazz, Tropicus 22, Urban Blue, Yusef Lateef, Zelphia
This year’s celebration of free jazz would not have been possible without the sponsorship and support of General Motors, Publix Supermarkets Charities, Chandon Brut Fresco, Robert Mondavi, Bacardi, Budweiser, Wyndham Midtown Atlanta, AT&T Broadband, Cingular Wireless, MARTA, Borders, Atlanta Magazine, Rolling Out, Creative Loafing, The Atlanta Coca-Cola Bottling Company, WSB-TV, WALR/KISS 104.7 FM, WCLK 91.9 FM, WVEE/V103 FM, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mundo Hispanico and The Atlanta Livery Company.