Lake Norman & Mooresville

Hometown celebrates jazz great

South Carolina Jazz Festival

Various venues in Cheraw, S.C. 843-537-8420, ext. 12; www.scjazzfestival.com.

Days: The weekend of Oct. 14-16.

Cheraw is best known for its famous son, John Birks Gillespie, born there in 1917. As trumpeter "Dizzy" Gillespie, he is one of the most important figures in American jazz.

In Cheraw's Town Green, a 7-foot bronze statue of Gillespie portrays him holding his famous B-flat trumpet. The Dizzy Gillespie Home Site Park honors Gillespie's forward-looking role in the arts with modern sculpture and stainless steel benches.

And Oct. 14-16, his home state honors him with the annual South Carolina Jazz Festival: It features more than 35 jazz performances, a Bebop Parade (Oct. 15, a Saturday) and assorted arts and sports events.

The music is, appropriately, what's key: Headliners include the Charlton Singleton Quartet and Kat Williams Trio (Oct. 14) and Noel Freidline Quintet (Oct. 15). Cost: $20/each show; $35/both. In Centennial Park on Oct. 15, the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America band's Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble will perform in a free concert. That evening, 10 downtown restaurants will offer live jazz.

The weekend wraps up with an Outdoor Jazz Mass at Cheraw's First Presbyterian Church.

Festival admission: Some events are free; others require admission. Get details on days/times/prices on website.

Target audience: Jazz lovers.

Directions: U.S. 74 East to U.S. 52 (at Wadesboro); take U.S. 52 south to Cheraw.

Travel time from Charlotte: 1 hour 45 minutes.

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