Monday, October 8, 2012


The jazz was smooth and cool on September 22nd at the 9th annual TASTE OF FOURTH AVENUE.
Each year the street is blocked off and some of the most talented musicians perform.
Fourth Avenue was a bustling business district for Black people before integration  in Birmingham, Alabama. Whatever you needed, it could be found at a business located there.  Doing business within the confines of these few city blocks, people of color felt comfortable and treated with respect. Oftentimes business owners were neighbors or fellow church members and relatives whick helped to bond  people closer together.

photo copied from
After integration 4th Avenue became something of a ghost town accompanied by a seedy reputation . Over the past 25 or more years, efforts have been made to restore the area and restore business and arts programs. The metamorphosis has been stupendous. Just a block away is the  Birmingham Civil Rights Institute which draws visitors from all over the world.

Additionally The infamous 16th Street Baptist Church is across the street from Civil Rights Institute.

Euge Groove performs. An artist paints as the musicians play
During Fourth Avenue's  dark days a decent person wouldn't think of walking the Avenue day or night. To see  all of the  positive renewal that has taken place is very rewarding. The one time Carver Movie Theatre is now the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame It stands to reason that an annual jazz concert would go hand in glove with the rest .

This year's  jazz festival began at 2 pm and was scheduled until 9pm.  I rode shotgun with a friend who preferred to wait until the sun was down and the climate was cooler. This was a great idea because there was just enough breeze in the air to stay comfortable. This year's headliner was  saxophonist  Stephen Eugene Grove better known as Euge Groove.  If you've never heard this man play you've missed out. His discography is endless. Who has he played with? Instead Who HASN'T he played with.? Need to relax? His music will mellow you out. His performance included tracks from his CD as well as an improvised arrangement of Amazing Grace .
Shielded by security Euge Groove descended the stage to walk through the audience serenading as he went. It was  a great performance by the headliner and the talented local musicians as well.  I always sleep well and have a warm fuzzy feeling after a great concert.

Upper left: Tekneek performs. Upper rt.: Carved wooden chairs with an African motif. :lower left: additional African crafts and art. Lower rt. Artwork

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