SAVANNAH JAZZ FESTIVAL: Jazmin Ghent focuses on jazz, gospel, Southern roots

Jazmin Ghent, international smooth jazz and gospel recording artist, had a musical interest that began when she was a young child. 

Born in Germany, into a military family, and raised in Huntsville, AL, Ghent’s mother and father raised her in the church, instilling the importance of Jazz and gospel music in her.

Ghent recalls her parents’ love story of how they met and bonded over a shared love of jazz, on their first date. Eventually, their shared interests among other things, would lead them towards marriage. Together they named their daughter, Jazmin, after their shared love of jazz music.

Her interest in music came naturally, as she was immersed in it in her home life. In middle school, around sixth grade in 2012, Ghent would take up playing the saxophone. Her mother brought the instrument home one day and handed it to Ghent. While Ghent didn’t necessarily choose the instrument, she grew to love it with time, developing her own musical identity.

 “I think your music should represent you like in any form of the arts, it has to somehow represent the artists. So for me, I love different styles. On any of my CDs, you’ll hear different styles, Latin music, a bit of pop music, and a bit of an r&b vibe. So it definitely defines me,” said Ghent. “I’m a very energetic person, so you’ll probably have the energy there. There’s some gospel songs on there too because that music resonates with me big time.”

She equally loves teaching music. 

“My goal is to teach future music educators about different ways, methods and concepts to teach music,” said Ghent. She began teaching music in middle school, teaching songs during summer camp, then after receiving her master’s, she would teach elementary music for five years. Now, in addition to her musical career, she continues to teach some at the collegiate level.

Outside of teaching, Ghent has had six top five billboard singles: Kickin’ It Up, Stride, Amends, Work Wit It, Heat, and Compared to What. 

Performing abroad and within the states, Ghent has accumulated a large following both internationally and domestically. 

She won the 2019 “NAACP Image Award” for Outstanding Jazz Album, “The Story of Jazz”. She was nominated for 2019 Smooth Jazz Network’s Best Artist of the Year and was voted 2017’s Best New Smooth Jazz Artist. Yet she remains grounded, sharing openly how grateful she is for the things she has accomplished, and the things she is still learning.

Performing once before at the Savannah Jazz Fest during the pandemic, Ghent is excited to perform at the festival this year, without the restrictions of the prior year. She plans to bring a soulful, bluesy, and energetic performance. It will be a solo performance, with the assistance of a band put together with musicians she has met or reached out to.

“I am beyond excited to play for the Savannah Jazz Fest, Savannah is such an amazing place. It has such a rich history,” said Ghent. “I have some new songs that I’m doing. I like to do a hybrid, there’s one song called stride, that’s all about having swag. But we’re gonna put some old flavor in there too. Some old, some standard, and some good home songs that most people like,” said Ghent.

Jazmin Ghent plays at the 41st Savannah Jazz Festival, Friday, Sept. 23, 6:00 p.m. For more information, visit savannahjazz.org

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