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The Atlanta Jazz Festival Celebrates 'WCLK AT 50'

ICYMI: The Atlanta Jazz Festival presented "WCLK AT 50" at Atlanta Symphony Hall on this past Friday evening to a nearly sold-out crowd. The show was a musical celebration of WCLK's 50 year history and featured iconic songs from the 1930s through the today, all performed by the city's top jazz artists.

"WCLK AT 50" was under the musical direction of Grammy-winning drummer Lil John Roberts and featured the Senators: Phil Davis, Trey Gilbert and Derek Scott. Robert's All-Star Big Band included Joe Gransden, Mike Burton, Saunders Sermons, Rodney Edge, Miguel Gaetan, Jamel Mitchell, Mace Hibbard, Melvin Fowler (I AM Khemestry), Joel Howell, Danny Wytannis, Dashill A. Smith, and Kadir Muhammad. DJ Kemit accompanied a few of the performances with hip hop tunes that featured samples from the original songs.

The highlight of the show were the vocal performances like the legendary Kathleen Bertrand, who wowed the audience with Roy Ayers' "Everybody Loves the Sunshine." Vocalist and actor Tony Hightower received a standing ovation for his super charged version of Nat King Cole's "Nature Boy" while Rhonda Thomas got the audience moving with the Incognito classic "Colibri." Vocalist and songwriter Cleveland P. Jones delivered a soul-stirring version of Shirley Horn's "Here to Life," which celebrated WCLK staff, announcers and legendary Atlanta musicians who passed away in recent years.

Other highlights included the Komanse Dance Theatre, that performed all throughout the show including their unforgettable break dancing segment during Herbie Hancock's "Rock It."

"WCLK AT 50" was narrated by Emmy-nominated poet Jon Goode and from all accounts from attendees was a huge success.