Video of André 3000 playing flute at the Jazz Fest goes viral

Wireless Festival 2014 - Day 3
André 3000 closed the three-day Atlanta Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park on Monday (Image via Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

André 3000 mesmerized fans with his flute skills at the 47th annual Atlanta Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park on May 27, 2024. The rapper, best known for being one-half of the Atlanta-based hip-hop duo OutKast, closed the three-day festival on Monday by playing songs from his debut jazz album, New Blue Sun, released on November 17, 2023.

Fans who attended the festivals posted videos of the Grammy winner's flute performance, which quickly went viral on X, with over 80K views.

The Jazz Festival brought over 150,000 jazz fans to Piedmont Park in Atlanta for the three-day event, featuring artists like André 3000, Lizz Wright, Groove Centric, Sullivan Fortner, and Lauren Henderson, to name a few.

André 3000's New Blue Sun is his first piece of music in over 17 years

Following OutKast's release of Idlewild in 2006, André 3000 stepped back into the music industry after a 17-year sabbatical. He has seemingly switched genres, exchanging rap and hip-hop for jazz music with the release of New Blue Sun.

The eight-track instrumental album was André 3000's first foray into jazz music. In a 2023 interview with NPR, he admitted his prejudice for jazz music as a rapper, having previously associated it with "old people and elevator music".

However, once he developed an interest in the genre, he declared, "Jazz was the rap of that time."

André 3000 has been a flutist for many years, to the point where people sneakily filmed him playing the instrument in public and posted it on Instagram.

"I've been playing flute for years. It got to a point where it's kind of Instagram-worthy, where people were kind of sneaking and filming me play — in space, in the public. I might be at Starbucks getting a coffee. I might just start playing. And people would just film it and post it. That started to happen a lot," he said to NPR.

He also expressed his distaste for people filming him secretively, adding that he loved playing the flute but wanted to keep that for himself. He developed a habit of going on long walks while playing the flute, which sparked the idea for New Blue Sun.

André 3000 ran into percussionist and experimental jazzer Carlos Niño in Erewhon, an LA-based health food chain, and the duo soon started jamming together in the latter's basement. This was where André 3000 met collaborators like keyboards Surya Botofasina and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Nate Mercereau.

In 2022, they began recording songs improvised in real-time, creating eight tracks that would later form New Blue Sun. The instrumental album's sci-fi-themed name reportedly signified rebirth, which the rapper elaborated on in his interview with NPR.

"The next world or the next beings will be under a bluer, cooler burning sun. It will burn cooler, but it will be large. So when you look up at the sky in these times, there'll be this larger globe of bluish, still bright but bluish because it's cooler. It's kind of like this whole album and this whole direction is a new world for me."

New Blue Sun debuted within the top 10 of multiple Billboard charts, with a No. 1 entrance on New Age Albums and a No. 5 on Top Alternative Albums.

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