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Al Smith's Midtown Atlanta Jam Session Birthday Bash
One of the longest running open mic jam sessions in Atlanta celebrates 15 years with an anniversary and birthday bash Wednesday, March 13 at Apache Café near downtown Atlanta. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9:30 p.m. Cover charge is $10 general admission; $5 for musicians.
What began as a solo gig for metro Atlanta keyboardist Al Smith has grown into one of the hottest events on the Atlanta music scene. This year, Smith added local celebrity and guest hosts such as KiSS 104.1’s Art Terrell and singer Phillippia Williams.
In spring 1998, Smith invited a few vocalists and horn players to join him as he played at the now-defunct Martini Club. Soon, bass players and drummers stopped by to hang out and play. As more musicians sat in, the groove got hotter.
“It was a just a good vibe, and everybody wanted to be a part of it,” said Smith, who paid fellow musicians out of his own pocket. “I realized that it was going to grow into something big, and it did.”
A few years later, Smith moved the Midtown Atlanta Jam Session to Apache Café to provide a larger platform for artists to hone their craft and display their musical gifts. The artist showcase has grown wildly popular, attracting throngs of talented musicians and vocalists who perform covers and originals backed by the house band, led by Smith. It also attracts local bands sampling new tunes and professionals sitting in with the band during jam sessions.
More important to the aspiring artists are the host of celebrities, producers, music directors and filmmakers (such as Tyler Perry) who flock there scouting fresh, new faces with the “It” factor.
“Erykah Badhu singing with us was an epic experience,” said Smith, recalling notable celebrities such as Rachelle Farrell, India Arie, Peabo Byrson and Queen Latifah who have attended the jam session. “The depth of our talent is what keeps it hot because each week we have guest musicians and vocalists who have performed, written or toured with national recording artists.”
Smith is no exception. The accomplished keyboardist and producer has played and toured with national recording artists such as Gloria Gaynor, Jennifer Holliday, Mandy Moore, saxophonist Kim Waters, Maysa Leak of Incognito, the late great saxophonist George Howard, R&B artist Brian McKnight, Will Downing, Usher, Kenny Lattimore and Goody Mob. He is currently on a national tour with saxophonist Kim Waters and plays locally in the hottest venues around Atlanta.
“Every night is special because you never know who will show up and what you’ll hear,” said Smith. “The band is always killing, so expect the unexpected.”
For table reservations, contact Apache Cafe at 404.876.5436.
|Where||Apache Cafe 64 3rd St NW, Atlanta, GA 30308|
|Next on||This event is over.|
|Time||8:00 pm–1:30 am|
|Who to bring||College Students, Moms, Dads, Singles, Seniors|
|Price||$10 general admission; $5 musicians|
More About Apache Cafe
Apache café is open seven nights a week and has a wide diversity of customers. Apache dinner menu is as diverse as its customers ranging from typical bar food to fine dining. The highlight of Apache is the full art gallery alongside its performance stage which is used for live entertainment.