Cher in the City: Listen to smooth sounds, help others

Will Downing is touring to promote his 16th album, Silver, and will stop in Augusta for a benefit for the DeAnna Williams Heffner Kidney Transplant Fund.

By the end of the movie, I had finished my grapes and my bottled water, been entertained and learned a little something about jazz and even more about Louie Armstrong. I clicked off the remote and snuggled down in bed.


It dawned on me that although I’m normally so into action films, love stories and reality TV, I had just watched and thoroughly enjoyed a movie where no one got shot or blown up, nobody had a fist fight or had even gotten slapped.

I had watched a grace and elegance that is so missing from TV today and it was about a simple man, with a wonderful skill, a smooth cool sound … and all that jazz.

If you care to enjoy a little jazz and some smooth R&B, there are a few events ahead that are worthy of your time and support.

• Rhythm and blues and jazz sensation Will Downing – on tour promoting his 16th album, Silver – will perform smooth jazz with saxophonist and flautist Najee to benefit the DeAnna Williams Heffner Kidney Transplant Fund.

The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at Bell Auditorium. Tickets are $35 to $65 from the James Brown Arena box office, or 877-4AUGTIX.

• On Sunday, Sept. 1, Garden City Jazz will transform Augusta Common into a jazz club for PopUpJazz. The event is free and starts at 6 p.m.

“Like jazz music, a pop-up lives in the moment,” said Karen Gordon, founder of Garden City Jazz. “And while I love music in nontraditional spaces, I’m constantly asked when Augusta will have a jazz venue. This seems to be a step in the right direction.”

To reserve a table, call (762) 233-5299 or or visit

• The Augusta United Negro College Fund Campaign Inaugural Ann N. Johnson UNCF Jazz Festival is set for 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, at Jessye Norman Amphitheater.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 on the day of the scholarship event. Contact Leadra Collins, Augusta UNCF Campaign coordinator, at (706) 821-8233 or