Durham News: Community

Ayers to headline 2015 Art of Cool Festival

Roy Ayers
Roy Ayers

DURHAM The Art of Cool Festival, a locally run, three-day music festival, has announced that Roy Ayers, an influential jazz artist who is known as the Godfather of Neo-Soul, will headline the event running from Friday, April 24 through Sunday, April 26, 2015.

A leading composer and vibraphone player, Ayers is now in his fourth decade in the music business as an artist who continues to bridge the gap between generations of music lovers.

Beginning as an award-winning jazz vibraphonist in the 1960s, he transformed into a popular R&B bandleader in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, the dynamic music man is an iconic figure still in great demand whose music influences many industry heavyweights, including Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, 50 Cent, A Tribe Called Quest, Tupac and Ice Cube.

“Roy Ayers is a legendary performer who has been able to build a bridge between jazz and neo-soul for decades,” Cicely Mitchell, president of the Art of Cool Project, said in a news release. “He is a perfect headliner as we begin our second year of the Art of Cool Fest.”

The Art of Cool Fest is Durham’s first world-class jazz and soul music festival. Launched in 2014, it combines two outdoor stages, five indoor music venues and over 30 performances to create one epic music festival. The event presents artists that rarely appear in Durham or perform on the same lineup together. Its economic impact on Durham was approximately $600,000 in direct and indirect spending in 2014.

The festival is part of the Art of Cool Project, a jazz presenting 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Durham dedicated to presenting and promoting live jazz and related music in unique venues throughout the Triangle. Its two major programs are Art of Cool Festival and StArt of Cool, a jazz education program. The Art of Cool Project is the rhythm of the Bull City that connects music and art to people. For more information, visit theartofcoolproject.com.