Music has surrounded Chris Crenshaw from before his birth, and it has always been a main focus of his life. He knew he wanted a career in it.
The son of a gospel musician, the Thomson native has played trombone for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for 11 years and is making a rare local appearance Sunday, Sept. 3, as part of the Georgia Horns at the Labor Day Music Fest at the Augusta Common.
“It was a far-fetched dream,” said Crenshaw of pursuing a slot with Jazz at Lincoln Center, but it was one he knew he had to pursue. And he hasn’t looked back.
His musical career has opened many doors to him. He’s traveled around the world and played with many great jazz musicians. In 2012, he composed God’s Trombones, a spiritually focused piece that premiered at the Lincoln Center.
Not only does he perform, but he teaches classes all over the globe. Some of his most memorable trips have been to Cuba and China.
“Every city was totally different (in China),” he said. “I was fascinated by the students. There were a lot of young people. I went to Cuba in 2010, and there were a lot of students eager to learn, eager to play.”
And despite the fact that he couldn’t speak the language, he could communicate with those students. “Music is the universal language,” he said.
Crenshaw won’t be playing a solo concert, but he will be joined by several friends. While he has played with the other musicians over the years, they’ve only played together as the Georgia Horns one other time at the Blind Willie McTell festival in 2011, and Karen Gordon, who coordinates the Candlelight Jazz Concert Series, saw that performance. She knew she had to bring that band to Augusta.
“We are super duper excited,” said Gordon.
Other members of Georgia Horns include Marcus Printup (trumpet) of Conyers, Ga.; Stantawn Kendrick (saxophones) of Thomson; Kenny Banks, Jr. (piano) and Kevin Smith (bass) both of Atlanta; and Brandon McCrae (drums) of Valdosta.
This is the eighth year for the Labor Day Jazz weekend. The concert itself will begin at 7:30 p.m.; however, there’s a pop-up white party prior to it.
“It’s patterned after Diner En Blanc,” she said. “People pack a picnic, dress in white.”
The White Party will begin at 6 p.m. in a secret location. Register for the event to find out. Tickets range from $45 to $135 for two people. The higher the package cost the more that is included. For $135, a couple just shows up and the table, coverings and food are all provided. In case of rain, the event will be moved to May Park gym.
Tickets to the concert only are $10 with ages 12 years old and younger admitted free. Visit gardencityjazz.eventbrite.com.