Written by Patrick Guilford
The 35th annual Savannah Jazz Festival took place in Forsyth Park last weekend. The event is hosted by the Coastal Jazz Association featured entertainment, food and live music by performers from across the country.
Barry Greene, a professor of Jazz Studies at the University of North Florida School of Music, has played at the Savannah Jazz Festival for the past three years.
District: During the opening of your show you mentioned you’ve been here for a few years. Have you seen any changes in the Savannah Jazz Festival?
Greene: Let me put it this way: no, but in a really good way. Because they decided to stick with the tradition of jazz, whereas a lot of jazz festivals across the country have a lot of pop music and really delude the whole idea of being a jazz festival. Instead, they really stuck to the root of jazz and for that, they really need to be commended.
District: You also mentioned during the opening that you were a professor at the University of North Florida. How do you balance going on various tours with school and teaching music?
Greene: Most of the things you’re talking about for me are a Friday to Monday. My schedule is set up in a way that I’m not available on those days anyway, but I will say this: the university’s very supportive of doing high profile things like this, because it makes the university look good and the professor is out there performing and brings notoriety to them as a university so it works out great for all of us. So they’re very supportive.
District: Other than being a university professor, what other projects or albums are you coming out with?
Greene: I have six tunes [witten] right now. I want to write four more for a total of ten. I’m going to do at least half of them with the guys tonight, up from Atlanta, and then there’s a group from Clearwater Florida that are just the greatest at contemporary smooth jazz. I want to balance it (between traditional and contemporary) because I have a love for that also. It should be done by the summer of next year.