First-ever jazz festival draws dozens, hopes to return next year


Photo by: Savanna Manzo

Paintings are on display at the first Jazz and Soul Music Festival in downtown Fresno on April 18, 2015.

The streets outside the African American Historical and Cultural Museum in downtown Fresno bustled with food, vendors, art, jazz and soul music on April 18 for the first of what is sure to become an annual Jazz and Soul Festival.

Eight artists, including Grammy winner Dwele were featured at the festival, which was attended by a good sized crowd. The Viper City Brass Band stood out with their performances that included a jazz version of The Eurythmics and Sweet Dreams are Made of This.

“The turnout was good. This is the first time they have done it,” said trumpet player Tom Lake. “I think there’s good prospect for a future tradition.”

The band is a product of Fresno and according to Lake , “If you really want to tie it back to why we do it or who inspires us, it was Dave Reffner.”

Reffner was the band director at Fresno High School for 30 years.

Music radiated through the streets as more and more gathered throughout the day to attend the festival that according to vendors and artists alike, is sure to make a comeback the following year.