Get Ready for the 2022 SC Jazz Festival

Dizzy Gillespie's hometown of Cheraw, SC ushers in its 17th year of the South Carolina Jazz Festival October 13-16 with four days of great jazz and exciting activities.  The weekend, which coincides with the 105th anniversary of Gillespie's birth, will showcase the unique bond Gillespie shared with his South Carolina roots and jazz. 

A wide variety of free events and one ticketed concert are scheduled for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday October 13-16.  This year's festival will culminate on Sunday, October 16, with a Free Jazz concert at First Presbyterian Church of Cheraw.

Over 24 Jazz performances are scheduled during the festival that include in-school performances. The concerts will feature regional musicians from both North and South Carolina and beyond.  The festival kicks off with a free concert on Thursday, October 13th at the Dizzy Gillespie Homesite Park featuring Cheraw native Robert Gardiner Jazz Quintet.  Robert is an educator at Lander University and also the founder of the SC Jazz Masterworks Ensemble.

Featured artist for the ticketed evening performance on Friday, October 14 at the Theatre on the Green will be New York based Trumpet Player Alphonso Horne & the Gotham Kings.  South Carolina musician Mark Rapp & the Dizzy Gillespie Celebration Band with guest vocalist Martina DaSilva will perform at a free outdoor concert on Saturday evening, October 15.

Alphonso Horne is one of the most sought-after musicians today. Known for his high level of musicianship, Horne has performed with some of the leading musicians in jazz including, touring with Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center (2013), performing on the PBS Special: Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett (2014), playing in the house band of the Late Show with Jon Batiste, and playing on Grammy nominated albums (Jamison, 2015; My Favorite Things, 2015). Horne was also featured in the 2019 film Bolden, playing a cameo role. 

Mark Rapp is a distinguished trumpeter, composer, arranger, didgeridoo player, recording and touring artist and has performed with artists from Branford Marsalis to Hootie and the Blowfish.  He has performed around the world at jazz clubs and jazz festivals and has been guest soloist with big bands, recorded as a special guest artist on CDs, and played in the United Nations Symphony Orchestra. “Rapp is willing to tackle the history of this music with his eyes on the past and his mind on the present and future of this music.”
Jazz Vocalist Martina DaSilva, a New York City native, captivates audiences with her signature blend of daring technical virtuosity and expressive emotional sensitivity.  Drawing equally from the styles of early jazz, opera, and chamber music, her musicality transcends conventional genre labeling.  As a Brazilian-American, Martina also has a passion for performing the works of Brazilian composers.  Martina has received high praise for her performances at the Kennedy Center, The Bern International Jazz Festival, the NYC Hot Jazz Festival, and Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Weekend activities include free performances at Cheraw’s Centennial Park featuring the 208th Army Jazz Band, a Be-bop parade, evening jazz crawls, and a jazz lunch and brunch. Music will be presented at the Gillespie family’s home church, Wesley United Methodist on Saturday, the 15th.  Art abounds during the weekend with Art on Town Green and the festival’s 13th Italian Madonnari Chalk Competition.  Attendees can enjoy a self-guided Historic Cheraw Cell Phone Tour to over 25 points of interest, including Dizzy Gillespie related sites.

Tickets for the Friday evening October 14th concert at the Theatre on the Green are $25.00 per person. For more information or to purchase tickets call the Cheraw Arts Commission 843.537.8420 x12 or visit

2022 also marks the return of the Dizzy Gillespie Scholarship Golf Tournament! Get out and enjoy the fantastic Cheraw State Park Golf Course while supporting the educational opportunities of the next generation.  For more information or to register please contact Mr. Clarence Long at 478-737-3031 or email him at Registration forms may be viewed by clicking here. 

The Dizzy Gillespie Scholarship Fund was established in 2011 and is presented annually to a student who plans to attend an institution of higher learning and demonstrates exemplary qualities of scholarship, citizenship, and service to their school, church, and community.