The Jazz on the Square series has to be one of the best things about downtown Knoxville every summer. Most Tuesday and Thursday nights Vance Thompson, Greg Tardy, Kenneth Brown, Keith Brown and Clint Mullican have kept us entertained since last June. The music is world class: Vance Thompson heads the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, Greg Tardy heads the UT Jazz program and the others are graduates of that program. There is also the minor fact that Keith and Kenneth happen to be the sons of Knoxville’s best known Jazz Musician, Donald Brown.
Last night the group was replaced with the full Knoxville Jazz Orchestra for a great evening of free jazz. Friends invited Urban Woman and myself along with several other couples to join them from the seventh floor of the Arnstein Building to enjoy the show through open windows. The sound rises perfectly with just enough volume to enjoy while visiting with downtown friends and new acquaintances. We met BJ and Delores who just moved into the Jacksonian in the old city after living in Farragut. Welcome to the city.
The jazz will not stop, however, with the end of this series: It simply moves into the Square Room. Next Tuesday night and Wednesday at noon, Donald Brown will be joined by his mentor, trumpet player Tom Harrell who has won accolades the world over. The two will be joined by Greg Tardy who has also worked with Mr. Harrell over the years. This is a ticketed events, and you can buy tickets here.
What will follow each Tuesday in the Square Room is the same fine jazz you’ve come to love on the square, only it will remain in the Square Room and will become a once-weekly series. The first show will be September 5 and the lineup will return to the familiar Marble City Five. With the great acoustics of the Square Room, this promises to be its own kind of special.
There will be a couple of additional differences from outdoor performance series. These shows will begin at 6:30 and run until 9:00 PM, so you get an extra half-hour of music. There is a cost, but it has an off-set. The cost is $5 for entry, but that gives you a voucher of equal value for food or a non-alcoholic drink during the show. So, really, it’s more a requirement that you purchase a drink or a bit of food – or pay $5 for entry if you decline to make a purchase.
That’s a lot to get excited about. In the meantime, I hope I’ll see some of you at the Crown and Goose today at 5:30 for Preservation and Libations.