The Art of Cool Festival
Various Venues, Downtown Durham
Friday, May 6–Sunday May 8, $50–$285
At a glance, the lineup for the third-annual
Art of Cool Festival may seem thin. Compared with Hopscotch, Moogfest, or even the first two iterations of downtown Durham’s jazz-and-soul convocation, the quantity of acts is notably limited.
But dig into the artists and sounds themselves, and you’ll soon begin to notice an inquisitive connectedness between many of these artistsin how they use their music to ask tough questions about society, about genre, about divisions between the physical, spiritual, and sonic sides of the music they make. The quality is unwavering, the programming itself of a thoughtful whole.
We approach Art of Cool 2016 by exploring many of the same questions and connections, in interviews and essays that, like Art of Cool itself, ask exactly how jazz in the twenty-first century relates to the wider world around it.
For night-by-night festival guides and daily reviews, visit
our music blog.