Friday, June 13, 2008

Glorious Gospel Jazz Fills the Gardens

Extraordinary live music will melodiously fill the gardens as Villa Christina celebrates the 2nd annual Gospel in the Gardens Jazz Series. Step past the lush foliage and wandering stream into the beautiful garden where the top inspirational jazz musicians will perform a trio of free concerts during the summer. When it’s hot outside, let the cool uplifting music be a balm for the soul. Villa Christina’s soothing al fresco evenings of inspirational gospel jazz are presented by Praise 97.5 and TD Entertainment. Escape the hustle and bustle of city life with a relaxing getaway to Villa Christina’s secluded gardens and enjoy live performances at the 2nd Annual Gospel Jazz Series at Villa Christina. Adam Ghali, General Manager of Villa Christina, welcomes visitors to the free concerts. “We love hosting outdoor concerts here. Everyone enjoys listening to the uplifting music outside and sharing incredible food with friends and family members.”

Three complimentary outdoor gospel concerts will be performed at Villa Christina on select Sundays throughout the summer. The trio of shows begins on Sunday, June 29th with Brian Clay and special guest Antonio Allen. Originally from Chicago, pianist Brian Clay began learning to play piano at age five. He moved to Atlanta as a youngster, where he still resides. This polished vocal performer, known as “The Nu Flava in music”, accompanies his elegant singing with emotional, passionate piano playing. His style has been described as “a unique blend of urban rhythms and contemporary jazz melodies”. Soulful saxophone player Antonio Allen grew up in a houseful of musicians, all of whom were heavily involved with church music. Although his sax playing is in the gospel genre, Allen’s hip, urban vibe broadens his appeal.

Chandra Currelly is all set to wow the crowd with her improvisational vocal stylings on July 13th. As the former lead vocalist for the SOS Band, Ms. Currelly has plenty of hits on her musical resume. In addition to pop chart success, she has explored success in other genres, including gospel, as well as acting and writing. Chandra has received numerous award nominations including an Atlanta gospel choice (best female vocalist), Helen Hayes (slam!), NAACP (Hot Mikado) and Suzie Bass (rejoice!). Her smooth, soulful, inspiration sound has its own category, one Chandra herself calls “urspijazz”, an extraordinary potpourri of urban, spiritual and jazz musical elements.

Singer and keyboardist Christopher Lewis takes the stage on August 24th. A prolific career songwriter, Lewis has penned numerous gospel jazz hits, including “Delivered”, a number-one single in 1996. Lewis nurtured his musical aspirations by singing in the church choir from age 10 and eventually moving on to quartet harmonies, directing, and pursuing a musical career writing heartfelt lyrics. Eloquent and moving, Lewis attributes his style to old-school influences such as Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke and newer artists Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Fred Hammond. Lewis believes his God-given musical purpose is “to melodiously articulate dreams, desires, hope, and love”.

Doors open at 4:00 p.m. and music begins at 5:30 p.m. Concertgoers should bring blankets or lawn chairs for comfortable seating. Children of all ages are welcome and will be delighted by free activities including a moonwalk and face painting. There will be a variety of exhibitors whose products and services will be available for purchase including exquisite hand made jewelry, original artwork and more.

A variety of food and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) will be offered by Villa Christina and Caffe Christina for purchase on the premises. Nibble on light delicacies such as pasta and salmon salads, or feast on gourmet burgers stuffed with special seasonings, plump hot dogs with French fries, or real Italian-style pizza straight from the wood-burning-oven. Be sure to save room for an indulgent dessert such as tiramisu or cheesecake, because the food here is unsurpassed. No coolers are allowed on the grounds.

The Summer Gospel Jazz Series is sponsored-in-part by Villa Christina, Praise 97.5, C3 Marketing Group, Atlantan Magazine and Piedmont Review. For more information on the Gospel Jazz Series or Villa Christina, call 404-303-0133 or visit For Corporate sponsorship or exhibitor information, contact Terri Harof at or call 404-786-7410.

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