The second in a series of four Spotlight Series concerts curated by music legend Wynton Marsalis will pair Marsalis’ jazz mentor Jimmy Heath and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt in an Aug. 23 concert as part of the 26th annual National Black Arts Festival.


“NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath, brilliant instrumentalist, magnificent composer and arranger, is vital at 87 years old,” Marsalis says. “When he walks into a room, jazz history is made.”

Pelt, named a Downbeat Magazine/Jazz Journalist Association Rising Star trumpeter, joins the Heath Brothers in a show featuring selections from the American Songbook as well as original compositions by Jimmy Heath. The concert features Jimmy Heath on saxophone, with brothers Percy (bass) and Tootie (drums).

Tickets start at $28. 8 p.m. Aug. 23. Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University. Details, tickets HERE.


NBAF Global Featuring Third World and Maxi Priest. Hit the dance floor in this celebration of reggae music featuring three powerhouse names: “reggae ambassadors” Third World (“Under the Magic Sun”), British-Jamaican artist Maxi Priest (“Easy to Love”) and Atlanta’s Julie Dexter (“The Smiling Hour”).

10 p.m. Aug. 17. The Tabernacle Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE.


Although music is the focus of this year’s NBAF (dance, theater, film and visual art each get their turn in future festivals), the spoken word will loom large in August with performances by emerging and well-known artists.


Brave New Voices Institute Poetry Slam. Shines the spotlight on Atlanta teens who complete the Institute’s two-week workshop in creative writing and spoken word. Free. 2 p.m. Aug. 2. National Center for Civil & Human Rights, 100 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd., downtown Atlanta.

Wisdom of the Cypher. Hip-hop impresario Toni Blackman combines spoken word, images and music, accompanied by Atlanta beatboxer D.R.E.S. tha BEATnik and musical conductor C. Hankins, directed by Monica L. Williams. After the Aug. 3 show, Blackman will hold a Cypher Workshop for advanced poets and rappers to a selected audience. Email for an application.

Tickets start at $10. 8 p.m. Aug. 2 &  2:30 p.m. Aug. 3. The Loft at Center Stage. Details, tickets HERE.


A Celebration of Music on Film: A Film Festival in Partnership with New York City’s African Diaspora International Film Festival. Seven films explore the influence of the African Diaspora on four continents: Hands of God, Peru; Susana Baca: Memoria Viva, Peru/Belgium; Return to Gorée, Senegal/Switzerland/Luxembourg; The Story of Lovers Rock, United Kingdom; Tango Negro: The African Roots of Tango, France; Josephine Baker, Black Diva in a White Man’s World, Germany; and Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues, U.S./Canada. A Q&A will follow.

$8 per film ($6 senior citizens); $42 day pass ($30 senior citizens). 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Aug. 16. Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center. Details, tickets HERE.

About Kathy Janich

Kathy Janich is a longtime arts journalist who has been seeing, working in or writing about the performing arts for most of her life. She's a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, Americans for the Arts and the National Arts Marketing Project. Full disclosure: She’s also an artistic associate at Synchronicity Theatre.

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