One of the biggest events for the African American community here in Buffalo is set to start this Sunday.
The Pine Grill Jazz Reunion attracts thousands every year. The event features two days of live music, Sunday Aug. 4th and Sunday Aug. 11.
The music festival represents a jazz history that runs deep in Buffalo.
The music festival is named after an old jazz club that was located at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and East Ferry Street. It’s where several big names in the jazz seen played like BB King.
“It was really a place where performers got their start. They were on a circuit and they considered this one of the stops in order to build up on the reputation and a following,” said George K. Authur, local African American history expert and one of the event organizers.
In years past, jazz clubs dotted areas on the east side like Michigan Avenue, William Street and parts of East Ferry.
“It was a lot of nightclubs, and that was when the music was all over the city of Buffalo and a lot of those entertainment places closed for one reason or another,” Authur said.
He says urban development in the Ellicott District contributed to the downfall of many of the night clubs as well as other African American businesses.
“One of the things that I think hurt the clubs in Buffalo was the Ellicott redevelopment, when they redeveloped William street, they took away a lot of taverns and other places where the musicians used to go and had a place to perform at they’re gone,” he said.