South Carolina Jazz Festival kicks off ninth year

South Carolina Jazz Festival kicks off ninth year

CHERAW, S.C. — Music lovers from across the Carolinas are getting jazzed up for the 2014 South Carolina Jazz Festival, which is set to begin Friday with a performance from the Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet.

“Each year, we try to make it bigger and better. One thing we’re all really excited about this year is the fact of who our main-event artists are on Friday evening and Saturday evening,” said David Sides, director of tourism and community development for the town of Cheraw. “If you’re into jazz at all, you’ve heard that Marsalis name. They’re synonymous with jazz.”

Following the Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet’s show will be a performance from James Tormé, son of legendary singer and songwriter Mel Tormé on Saturday.

“We’ve always had some incredible artists for the main events, but these guys are more nationally known,” Sides said.

The three-day festival is in its ninth year. Supported by the S.C. Arts Commission and the the National Endowment for the Arts the South Carolina Jazz Festival blends art and music, featuring musicians and artists from throughout the area.

More than 25 jazz performances are planned at venues including Centennial Park and the Theater on the Green as well as several local restaurants and businesses. The festival will also feature performances from area school groups, events for children and more.

“It continues to grow a little bit more,” Sides said, “and to me, to get a little bit better.”

The festival will include a number of events celebrating locally born jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie. At the festival, Gillespie will be portrayed by another native son of Cheraw, Joshua Campbell.

“(Joshua is) a product of Cheraw,” said sides. “He’s a graduate of Cheraw High School (and) he’s now at Harvard. I think he’s in his junior year.”

Many of the festival’s events are free to the public, but tickets for the main events are available now. Jazz fans can purchase tickets and see a full schedule of events by visiting or by calling 843 -537-8421, extension 12.