I've been hearing about the Future of Jazz Competition that Tammy Allen organized. Last week when I went to Tammy's Jam Session at Londzell's, I met a Chicago alto sax player named Danny Lerman. He said he was here for the Future of Jazz Competition. There were a lot of other great artists at Londzell's that night, many of whom were also at the competition. The competition runs every tuesday night from Feb 12th to March 4th, so it's still going on, there are 2 more left.
So, at the competition last night - which was held at Star Jazz and Blues - I hadn't been hanging around the Atlanta Jazz Scene for a long while, and felt quite ignorant: All three of the lead artists playing were great, and yet I didn't know any of them. The first artist was Leeland Davis on keyboard, who played long, intricate and exciting lines in his solos, as well as a solo piano piece. But Ryan Whitehead and his band really blew me away. He had amazing chops on the tenor, and the notes that he played all sounded really "right" to me, maybe that means we have similar tastes. However, Dave Ellington, who played hammand B3 organ in Ryan's band, was a force in his own right. I love how that organ can play 3 or 4 parts simultaneously together. The two of them also really played off of each other during their solos, which created some very nice effects. Lastly was Mace Hibbard on alto and soprano saxes, who ended up winning the event. Me personally was more impressed with Ryan though, it's just personal preference. I think Ryan probably had more of a call-and-answer style to his playing, which I dig.
It's very encouraging to find these great musicians in Atlanta, I will be seeking them out it the future. Tammy is always hosting great events. I think from now on I'll just follow her whereever she goes =)