Joye of Jazz at The Willcox features festivities, food and fine music

March 10, 2019

Big jazz sounds boomed from the cozy nest of The Willcox this weekend as the annual Joye in Aiken festival played out.

Joye of Jazz, a repeat crowd favorite, was Saturday’s big event, featuring a jazz brunch with acclaimed musician Molly Miller; an afternoon session with Sam Reider and the Human Hands with Jorge Glem; and a headlining performance by Bryan Carter and the Young Swangers.

Intimate question-and-answer sessions as well as listening parties were hosted between the main performances. Attendees had the chance to get to know the performers and were offered a glimpse into what makes each musically tick.

The jazz brunch—mimosas, Bloody Marys and breakfast spreads galore—was a serious hit, and Miller’s music kept the audience bobbing, swinging and clapping.

Janice Jennings, the Joye in Aiken executive director, described Joye of Jazz as “wildly popular” and “more fun than you can imagine.” Jennings said tickets to Joye of Jazz sell out within hours, adding that the performers this year represent the “rising stars of the jazz scene.”

The Joye in Aiken website describes those same performers as a “best-of-the-best crop” who perform regularly in New York City’s top jazz venues.

Miller has recorded and toured with Jason Mraz and The Black Eyed Peas.

Zee Homoki attended Joye of Jazz with her husband, Steve, a former Aiken City Council member. She said Joye of Jazz always provides top-tier entertainment—as does the rest of the week, she noted.

The Joye in Aiken festival runs March 8 to March 15 this year. A handful of performances, including a swing dance party on March 13, are still to come.

Joye in Aiken itself is a nonprofit that seeks to bring world-class performing arts, and access, to the general Aiken area. The organization is named after the Joye Cottage, a Gilded Age mansion.