Tallahassee residents jam to ‘Jazz on Gaines Street’

Hundreds of people came out to celebrate “Jazz on Gaines Street” Sunday evening.

Boulevard Park echoed soothing jazz rhythms from local talent such as Carlton Williams & The Legend Band, Mercy Jaye and saxophonist Chuck Crawford. The free jazz event was sponsored by R&B Ministries Inc.

Denise Adams, director of R&B Ministries Inc., was overwhelmed by the turnout.

“I’m so excited people came out early,” Adams said. “My vision is finally unfolding in front of me.”

The weather was clear and food was plentiful. Lawn chairs decorated the park while children participated in arts and crafts. Local vendors were also on board to support the event.

There was also a mixed crowd of old and young attendees. Sixteen-year-old singer and guitar player Travia Gallon, whose stage name is “Mercy Jaye,” was one of three performers to take the stage.

“I like the way music makes people feel,” Gallon said. “I like to make other people feel well, and that’s what jazz does.”

Gallon opened up the event with a rendition of “Simply Beautiful” by Al Green. She said she wanted to engage the crowd.

“I feel like the crowd received me well,” Gallon said. “I wasn’t nervous as I usually am. I rocked it.”

Thirteen-year-old Raven Aiele, co-owner of Mayhem Sweets & Treats in Tallahassee, enjoyed the atmosphere and community involvement.

“It’s fun and exciting,” Aiele said. “This is my first time at a jazz festival and we’re excited to participate.”

Tallahassee resident Dwayne Presley said the energy from the crowd was amazing.

“I came out here to relax and enjoy the festive fall weather,” Presley said. “I came to be a part of it all.”

With this being the first “Jazz on Gaines Street” event, Randy Barr, CEO of R&B Ministries Inc., said he is looking for growth in the following years.

“This event was a great turnout, “ Barr said. “In the future I would like to see this event continue to grow.”