When her father created the Atlanta Jazz Festival some 36 years ago, vocalist Alexandra Jackson was waiting to be born.
But Memorial Day Weekend the 28-year-old came full circle as one of the headline acts at the renowned 3-day free festival in the city’s Piedmont Park.
It was the first time that Jackson, an Atlanta native and youngest daughter of Atlanta’s first African-American mayor, performed at the musical extravaganza.
The sultry songstress, who now lives in Los Angeles, says “I used to go as a kid” to the festival which her father, the legendary Maynard Jackson, founded in 1978.
“My father was very humble,” she says. “I didn’t know until a couple of years ago that he was the one that started the festival. It’s really nice to return to a full homecoming in a different manner.”
Indeed, during her performance (under the watchful eye of her mother, Valerie) on the main stage the singer-songwriter did what she does best and wowed the crowds with select cuts from her newly-released album, From the Start.
The sentimental album showcases Jackson’s soulful voice and explores her understanding of traditional jazz music or “jazz music in its most pure form.” Talking about her much-anticipated debut jazz EP, she describes it as “really a love letter from her to jazz,” with “jazz standards that you’ve known and loved” but with a few surprises for avid jazz listeners.
In a symbolic gesture, she chose to return to her former school to record the album. As a matter of fact, it was her high school band director at the Lovett School who first influenced her to focus on jazz.
“I thought it would be so fitting to record my first jazz album where it all started, with the people who influenced me musically, and the great musicians with whom I had played for years,” Jackson stated in her biography on the festival website. “It was a full circle, and one for which I am very grateful.”
Although she says she doesn’t have a big interest in politics, she shares her father’s temperament and passion for music. “I am from a musical