ColaJazz Fest Comes to Life
ColaJazz Fest comes to life Saturday, February 3rd at Music Farm with their inaugural festival headlined by Chris Potter and followed by the ColaJazz All Stars. If you’re thinking Music Farm’s wide open space might not fit well with a full night of Jazz you’ll be happy to hear that the Farm is getting a makeover for the festival, decorated like a giant jazz club, with chairs, cocktail tables and more.
Organized by trumpeter Mark Rapp who runs the website ColaJazz, a website that highlights local talent in the jazz scene, also looks to bring a world-class event to Columbia inaugural event. Headlined by Chris Potter, who was born in Chicago, but spent his formative years in Columbia where he grew as a musician before bursting onto the New York scene as an 18-year-old saxophone prodigy. Now for close to 30 years Potter has performed all over the world, recorded 15 albums and made appearances on over 100 more.
When speaking with Free Times about his time in Columbia, Potter has fond memories of growing up here.
“It was a surprisingly fertile ground, I think, for young jazz musician,” he tells Free Times. “There were a lot of good local players, and I was able to learn from older musicians on the job as well. There were also gigs — I was playing a fair amount, a few nights a week in town while I was in high school. So, I got the chance to perform in front of people and be exposed to a lot of different styles of jazz.”
On Saturday night Columbia’s jazz scene will take center stage for what hopes to be a long running and growing festival. As Columbia’s jazz scene has come and gone some over the years with venues opening and closing, ColaJazz now remains a central hub to keep it thriving. And now this festival will celebrate that each year.