Jazz on the Square

Jazz on the Square, Knoxville, June 2011

Tonight: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM (and the next three Tuesday nights)
Greg Tardy – tenor saxophone, Vance Thompson – trumpet, Keith Brown – piano, Taylor Coker – bass and Kenneth Brown – drums.

A few dozen jazz fans – can’t we do better?

It’s funny as time passes which memories stick and which memories fade. When I was a child, maybe twelve years old, my family traveled to New Orleans and, as we had many times, waited patiently in line to drop our dollar in the bucket, stand for a while then, when it was our turn, sit on wooden benches and sweat in the thick humid summer night to the sounds of the greatest jazz players in the world. Preservation Hall was long since legendary and on the best nights anything could happen.

Jamming to the jazz in style.

That particular night I looked across the pulsing room to see Stu Cook. Probably no one reading these words has a clue that he was the bass player for Credence Clearwater Revival. But I knew. They were my first rock and roll love thanks to some older friends. So, that I’d remember that isn’t a surprise, right?

The surprise is that I don’t clearly remember his companion, but many years later my mother would remind me that I told her Stu was jamming to the jazz with Janis Joplin. Now I think I remember, but do I? Meanwhile, my mother, who would have had no way to know that name if I hadn’t told her and who remembered it for thirty years to tell me the story, now can’t remember Janis Joplin, Preservation Hall or even jazz as Alzheimer’s steadily erodes all memory.

What does all this have to do with the here and now? Tonight on Market Square you have a chance to hear the best jazz Knoxville has to offer – and it’s as good as you’d find most any other place with a set of players who could hold their own on any stage. It will be hot and humid, perfect for a night of jazz, and who knows who you might see? You might watch for a woman dressed in bell-bottoms with flowers in her hair and a piece of her heart on display.