North Carolina’s music scene is arguably the best it’s been in history. While the past has seen small pockets of the scene flourishing, whether it be the early-90s college rock scene, the hip-hop uprising of the late 90s and early 00s, or the recent flux of world class festivals, it seems like everything has finally started to come together for everyone. Hopscotch has brought national attention to Raleigh’s indie rock scene, and now Art of Cool seeks to do the same for Durham’s jazz scene. While many may feel that the genre is an antiquated area of music, Al Strong and Cicely Mitchell are doing everything in their power to change that.
When The Art of Cool began it was little more than a way for local jazz musicians to find quaint and intimate places to share their sounds. But what began in art galleries around the Triangle has swiftly flourished into one of the most promising festivals in recent memory. This past summer the Art of Cool announced their plans to hold a two-day festival in downtown Durham and on Nov. 15 they announced their brilliant lineup. Art of Cool is bringing some of the most renowned jazz artists from the area alongside some of the fastest rising upstarts to make for a unique and mesmerizing weekend in Durham.
This past Friday, Al and Cicely joined me in the studio to talk a bit about how the project came together, took of so quickly, and what people can expect from this exciting festival. Throughout the hour we ran down some of the most anticipated artists that will be performing on the weekend of April 25 along with some of the weekends festivities–which include master classes, day shows and artist panels.