Check out details from our 2023 event below and check back later for information on 2024!
Join us for a weekend of Blues & Jazz! Formerly known as Pizza, Blues & Jazz, this annual event features a variety of your favorite restaurants and food trucks, complete with live blues and jazz music. Sink your teeth into the tastiest food around, wash it down with cold beer and wine, and groove to some live blues and jazz bands featuring Albert Cummings, Mac Arnold, Greenville Jazz Collective and Iliana Rose!
Saturday, April 29, 2023 | 2 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Read more about the bands below!
A few notes to make your visit a smooth one:
- Parking and entry are FREE.
- Lawn chairs and/or blankets are welcome & encouraged.
- Outside food and beverages are prohibited.
- Food and beverage vendors will be on-site.
- Leashed dogs are allowed at this event.
- Smoking, skateboards, and bicycles are not allowed at the Mauldin Blues & Jazz Festival.
Volunteer with Us!
Interested in volunteering at other events and shows at the Mauldin Cultural Center? Sign up for our volunteer e-blast!
Click on a tab below to see happenings from 2023’s event!
BLUES & JAZZ
Albert Cummings | 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
“In the trajectory of watching great musicians develop, there is no set timetable. Some appear full-blown right from the start, and others can take a whole career to get to that elevated place. Albert Cummings arrived strong right at the beginning and has kept growing over a course of endless tours and nine previous albums, right up to today with the release of the album TEN. It’s the kind of recording that shows exactly why all the accolades and excitement have been deserved. Now, it’s an irrevocable truth that the musician has made his full-on breakthrough. And it comes at exactly the perfect time, when the world is looking into what might be in store past the challenging experience of the pandemic for the last two years. Music, being one of the world’s tried and true joys of life, has always had a way of bringing healing and inspiration to listeners, and at no time in recent decades has it been needed more than now.
When Albert Cummings started making plans for the sessions that would become TEN, his first sign that this would be a turning point for him was when he connected with producer Chuck Ainlay. With Ainlay’s credits working with Mark Knopfler, both solo and with Dire Straits, and George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Emmylou Harris and many others, it was immediately obvious that this new album would be one for the ages. Cummings knew a new vista for his music was right in front of him. “When you walk into a room with a producer like this, it feels like there is a whole new world of possibilities ready to open up,” he says, “and I felt like things were really turning in an exciting new direction.”
It didn’t take long for exactly that to happen. A dream team of musicians quickly became involved in the TEN sessions, including drummer Greg Morrow, bassist Glenn Worf, keyboardist Michael Roujas and guitarist Rob McNelley. “There was a moment when I looked at the players in the studio with me,” Cummings says, “and I felt giddy. I knew immediately this was exactly the band that I needed to have with me to take my new songs where I wanted them to go. The music that started to be played in the studio sounded like it was being created on a whole new level. I knew in a flash we were onto something. “
One of the most striking things on TEN is the songs themselves. Written by Cummings, the 13 tracks feel like a compelling and extremely emotional summation of what the artist has seen and done. The evocative way the lyrics capture Cummings’ life and his early days in music captures with exquisite detail how someone in his world went on to make such a strong impact on modern blues and beyond.
The lead track, “Need Somebody,” begins the album with a sonic slugfest of back-alley power. It is the sound of one who will do everything he can to stand up to the forces that attempt to take him apart. It is exactly the kind of sound that Cummings has spent his life perfecting. Blues is not a style of music that easily progresses. It takes a major effort to move into a modern age without losing all the power of its page. This is exactly what Cummings is able to do on “I Need.” It is the kind of song that makes a statement of who he is musically now, and what his desires are for the future. “Too Old to Grow Up,” is a slight sideways move musically from “Need Somebody,” but stays in the same psychic groove just enough to stand with the anthemic groove of the album.
Albert Cummings has always prided himself on not putting limits on the music he can create. And it takes that kind of inner belief to keep growing, no matter when you start or where you go. Which is why this new album has raised the bar to a place where everything feels possible. “At one point Chuck Ainlay said Vince Gill was interested in meeting with me. And before the sessions had been completed, Gill was able to add background vocals on the song ‘Last Call.’ I figured then it was a sign that anything can happen, and it’s so important to stay open to all possibilities. And that’s the way I look at music. You can surprise yourself in so many ways with things that at one point seemed so far away. I have been playing a lot of years, and still find new ways of expressing myself. That’s what this album is all about to me. It’s given me a new way of looking at my future, and lets me believe that I’m still able to do whatever I can dream of. And that’s the real joy of it.”
For someone with the kind of background Albert Cummings has, that kind of confidence about his new music says it all. This is a singer and guitarist who has played with many of the greatest players of the modern era, and received the kind of awards and recognition that few others do. Raised in Massachusetts and self-taught on the banjo, it was a 1987 concert by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble that opened Cummings to a new world of modern blues and inspired him to take up the guitar. It didn’t take long from there for him to find his way to the front of the pack. In fact, Albert Cummings’ very first album FROM THE HEART (2003) was produced by Double Trouble’s Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon and included the group’s Reese Wynans on keyboards. That had not happened before Cummings’ release.
From that first album, the burgeoning blues world of the 2000s opened its doors for Albert Cummings. He recorded several albums for Blind Pig Records, and on 2012’s NO REGRETS the guitarist extended the boundaries outside the blues world to include country and rock influences like he really hadn’t before. It was obvious that the musician did not want to limit himself in any way, and saw a wider possibility for where his music could go. With its release on Cummings’ own indie label imprint, Ivy Music Company, TEN is a full realization of that possibility.”
Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues | 3:30 – 4:45 p.m.
“Mac Arnold’s first band included James Brown on piano. Mac moved to Chicago and Muddy Waters hired him on the spot. He toured and recorded with the Muddy Waters Band and recorded LPs with Otis Spann and John Lee Hooker. Mac moved to Los Angeles and produced Soul Train with his friend Don Cornelius. He even played bass on the Sanford & Son television show when he wasn’t playing bass for Otis Redding and B.B. King. He retired from show business to be an organic farmer. Mac is back with his own band and a “plate full” of CDs, building a new foundation in blues, soul and funk.
Mac Arnold must have known at an early age that his music career would read like a “Who’s who” of Blues/R&B Legends. His high school band “J Floyd & The Shamrocks” were often joined by none other than Macon, Georgia native, James Brown on piano. After deciding to pursue a professional music career, he joined the Charles Miller group until 1965 when he made the move to Chicago to work with recording artist/saxophonist A. C. Reed.
In late 1966, at age 24, came the opportunity of a lifetime to join the Muddy Waters Band and help shape the electric blues sound that inspired the rock and roll movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Regular guests of the band included Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, and Elvin Bishop. The Muddy Waters Band (as a unit) shared the stage with the likes of Howlin’ Wolfe, Elmore James, Jimmy Reed, Junior Wells, Big Joe Williams, and Big Mama Thornton just to name a few. During this time, Mac played on John Lee Hooker’s “live “album, Live at the Café Au Go-Go, as well as Otis Spann’s classic recording “The Blues is Where It’s At”.
After more than a year with Muddy Waters, Mac formed the Soul Invaders which backed up many artists, including The Temptations and B. B. King. In the early 70’s, he moved Los Angeles to work at ABC Television and LAFF RECORDS (Redd Foxx). This led to working on the set of Soul Train from 1971 to 1975 and then working with Bill Withers (“Lean On Me”) before moving back to South Carolina in the 80”s.
Mac now resides in Pelzer, SC, where at the age of ten he got his first taste of the blues when he learned to play his brother Leroy’s home-made guitar. Going back to his roots. Mac is serving up a mess of Blues with his own band, “Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues”. The band consists Austin Brashier on guitar and vocals, Max Hightower on harmonica and vocals, Rick Latham on drums, Mike Frost on bass, and Mac Arnold on vocals and Gas Can Guitars.”
The Greenville Jazz Collective | 5:15 – 7 p.m.
The Greenville Jazz Collective (GJC) is a small non-profit dedicated to serving Greenville, SC and beyond through education outreach and regular performances in a variety of settings. Since 2012, the GJC has connected with many of the dedicated professional musicians, arts organizations, and music educators in Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina to reach tens of thousands of people with award winning jazz programs.
Iliana Rose Cuban Jazz Band | 2 – 3:15 p.m.
Iliana Rose is a fantastic musician. Born in Miami and raised by Cuban parents and grandparents she is steeped in Cuban rhythms and culture. Being a genuine prodigy she started playing music at the age of four. After years of classical training, she graduated from the prestigious University of Miami as well as the National Piano Guild with performance degrees.
She moved to Los Angeles and with her band, “The iliana Rose Cuban Jazz Band” she began performing at festivals, corporate shows, temples, weddings and fundraisers. For four years Iliana was the keyboard player on the national T.V. show Noches Con Platanito.
Iliana was the musical director for several projects spanning multiple genres including The Arsenio Rodriguez Project: a 12 piece band playing traditional Cuban music. Las Chikas: LA’s hottest all female salsa orchestra. Opera singers Maximo Marcuso and Veronica Bell and Cuban theatrical singers Candi Sosa and Cristina Rebull. In addition she was also the musical director for own her band, The iliana Rose Cuban Jazz Band.
Iliana produces full length albums, plays recording sessions and is also an excellent recording engineering. She composes music for films and arranges songs for Latin jazz bands with up to twenty five pieces.
Now residing on the east coast, iliana is ready to rock new audiences!
Thank you to our 2023 sponsors:
2023 SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
This Saturday event will bring hundreds of guests to the Mauldin Outdoor Amphitheater. Depending on your sponsorship level, you could be earning $25K+ in media presence, brand recognition at events, and more by sponsoring: Mauldin Blues and Jazz Festival.
Interested? Email us at [email protected] or call us at 864.335.4862.