Atlanta Jazz Festival To Feature Tribute To Nina Simone | WABE 90.1 FM

Atlanta Jazz Festival To Feature Tribute To Nina Simone

May 21, 2015

Simone performs at a concert in Morlaix, France in May of 1982.
Credit Roland Godefroy / http://commons.wikimedia.org/Roland Godefroy

Atlanta vocalist and pianist Terry Harper will be among the artists paying homage to the late Nina Simone this weekend at the Atlanta Jazz Festival.

Terry Harper will be among the artists paying homage to the late Nina Simone.
Credit Courtesy of Atlanta Jazz Festival

Harper, who has frequently played at such local jazz haunts as Churchill Grounds and Cafe 290, will be included in “Four Women – A Tribute to Nina Simone,” which begins Sunday at 3 p.m. at the main stage at Piedmont Park.

A number of Simone originals are included in the program, with new arrangements by Atlanta jazz composer and band leader Russell Gunn.

“We had a wonderful rehearsal – real intense, but Nina’s music was real intense,” Harper said in a “City Lights” interview with H Johnson.

“Russell’s done an excellent job of preserving the integrity of Nina’s intent but make it fresh for younger audiences, and even fresh for those of us who’ve heard those songs before but will be hearing them in a slightly different way.”

The Nina Simone tribute also will feature the talents of British singer, songwriter and producer Julie Dexter, and two Atlanta-based singers and songwriters, Kathleen Bertrand and Rhonda Thomas.

Harper said what she especially admires about Simone was that “she was real ... she refused to be boxed into” any particular genre – whether it was jazz, blues, folk or something else.

“She was whatever she had to say, and she used whatever vehicle she had to say it,” Harper said.