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All-Star Jazz Jam w/The Teddy Adams Quartet

Back in the day, many of the cats which help keep our local jazz scene alive today were mentored and encouraged in their youth at annual jam sessions just like this one. They (and especially Mr. Adams) have made it their business to keep that spirit alive, bringing other young or less experienced players than themselves into the fold the old fashioned way. This unpredictable and laid-back event promises a gaggle of local blues and jazz veterans (and newcomers) plucking, strumming, blowing, singing and beating their hearts out. It makes a perfect capper to the events in the park, or a great diversion merely on its own. Coastal Jazz Association linchpin Teddy Adams hosts this no-holds-barred late-night jam session following the "blues night" of the 25th Savannah Jazz Fest in Forsyth Park. This annual tradition is eagerly anticipated by both regional musicians and listeners alike. The players get a rare chance to let their hair down in a public space, and do their best to cut heads and generally have a blast, sitting in and collaborating extemporaneously with both longtime acquaintances and complete strangers.

Thurs., 10 pm, Mercury Lounge.

Malcolm Holcombe

I’ve sung this Blue Ridge Mountains-bred singer/songwriter’s praises in the pages of this magazine before, and I’ll likely continue to do so as long as he has the strength to step on a stage. A mesmerizing and almost preternaturally captivating lyricist, vocalist and guitarist, Malcolm is literally the type of artist that most others can only dream of being. After years of battling personal demons and record label politics that unfairly kept his talents from being properly exposed to the public at large, he’s now in the midst of an awe-inspiring career renaissance that has resulted in two spectacularly arresting albums (2005’s I Never Heard You Knockin’, and his latest, the brand-new Not Forgotten), that have critics falling all over themselves to recommend. Rightfully so.
It’s thrilling to hear Malcolm back in a full-band situation again, and the simpatico he’s found with these musicians is being embraced worldwide, as a featured track from the CD is already hovering near the top of the Americana charts in Europe. This intimate local show finds Holcombe appearing solo, but don’t let that fool you the lack of a band will in no way diminish the power of his art. It will not be contained. Fri., 8 pm, The Sentient Bean.

Ellis Marsalis

It’s been 4 years since this piano great (and the patriarch of the ridiculously talented Marsalis clan that also includes trumpeter Wynton, saxophonist Branford, trombonist Delfeayo, and drummer Jason) played in Savannah, and what better way to kick off the grand opening of the city’s first dedicated live jazz venue in years than to welcome back such an esteemed artist? Regarded by many as New Orleans’ premier modern jazz pianist, he cut his teeth in the ‘60s and ‘70s as a regular fixture in the Big Easy’s Playboy Club and the legendary Al Hirt’s own nightspot. He would later go on to become one of the foremost jazz educators in America, ultimately becoming the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of New Orleans. He’s released several critically-praised albums, many of which prominently feature his famed sons. Both of Marsalis’ Saturday night shows at this 100-seat jazz bar and art gallery (with an adjoining 100-seat restaurant) feature both local and New Orleans-based sidepersons, and are free to anyone 21 and above. Appetizers will be available in the listening room, but not during the performance.

Sat., 8:30 pm & 10 pm, Kokopelli’s (107 W. Broughton St.).