By Tribune Staff
NASHVILLE, TN — Acclaimed songwriter and vocalist Valerie Simpson, blues guitarist/vocalist Stacy Michhart, and top entertainer/rapper Chubb Rock are just some of the performers scheduled to appear this weekend at the 19th annual Jefferson Street Jazz and Blues Festival. The event was created to celebrate Jefferson Street’s legacy of vital jazz and blues performers, both those who grew up in the Nashville area, and the many major performers around the nation who flocked to the Street’s array of clubs during its heyday as a Black music mecca.
The festival is July 14 and 15. with stages at two locations. A Happy Hour and Block Party kicks things off on the 14th at 5th Avenue & Demonbreum, where four artists are headlining on stage. Louis York gets things started, followed by William Davenport, then Bizz and Everyday People. DJ Chubb Rock, who had a string of hit albums in the ‘90s, including the songs “Treat’em Right,” “Just The Two of Us” and the number one single “The Chubbster,” will be the showcase attraction. Rock abandoned a potential medical career to pursue music, and has been among those in the hip-hop community who’ve focused on positive message songs and causes ranging from HIV/AIDS Awareness to reducing the number of young Black men incarcerated, as well as campaigning for Barack Obama. He’s also appeared on the television show “The Marriage Ref.”
The stage shifts to the BiCentennial Mall on the 15th,. Herschel Bailey is the lead performer, followed by the Nashville Jazz Workshop Jazz Ensemble. Next comes longtime popular blues singer/guitarist Stacy Mitchhart. Mike Phillips precedes the night’s and festival’s top attraction, vocalist/songwriter Valerie Simpson.
Simpson co-wrote a host of songs that became pop music standards with husband Nickolas Ashford during their long personal and professional partnership. Their list of spectacular songs included “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “I’m Every Woman” and”You’re All I Need To Get By.”
The duo later enjoyed several years of popularity as performers. Since Ashford’s passing in 2011, Simpson has returned to the solo performances that began her career. She is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and a former board member of ASCAP.
There are other activities happening during the festival, among them a free children’s pavilon, plus various vendors. It’s presented by the Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership (JUMP). For tickets and more detailed information on starting times visit www.nashvilejazzandbluesfest.com.