Stories » Regina Carter set to headline Atlanta Jazz Festival / ARTSATL

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Regina Carter set to headline Atlanta Jazz Festival / ARTSATL

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When Mayor Maynard Jackson founded the Atlanta Jazz Festival in 1978, he wanted to spotlight the city as an international center of the arts and education, and promote an art form that was indigenous to the South. Forty years later, the free outdoor event remains a Memorial Day weekend staple for aficionados, and continues the tradition of drawing world-class talent like Dizzy Gillespie, Nina Simone and Ray Charles to Piedmont Park. But with so many established and emerging artists to choose from over the three-day festival, having to decide where to focus your attention can be daunting. So ArtsATL has compiled a Top Six list to help get the party started - in chronological order.

Growing up as part of a music-loving family in Detroit, Regina Carter's ears were filled with the melodies of Motown, classical, jazz and movie soundtracks. But the tone that really captivated her imagination came from a primary source: Ella Fitzgerald. "Something about her voice made me feel like I had a personal connection," says Carter. "When she sang, I felt really warm and safe, almost a maternal connection. It just felt like love." Fans of the jazz violinist and MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" fellowship recipient could say the same of Carter's playing - the technique and virtuosity of which are the aural equivalent of Southern comfort sealed with a warm embrace.