Tuesday and Thursday Night Free Music Returns to Market Square

Smphony at the Bijou, Variety Thursday Concerts on the Square, Knoxville, May 2014

Symphony at the Bijou, Variety Thursday Concerts on the Square, Knoxville, May 2014

What could be better than a laid-back Tuesday or Thursday night on Market Square when the weather is good? People-watching is always great on the square and with multiple choices of patios offering food and drink, the living is pretty good. But it can get better – and it recently has. The first day of May brought the early-summer Thursday evening concerts back to the square. Dubbed the “Variety Thursday Concerts on the Square,” the performers reflect, as the bulky name implies, “variety.” Acts included in the Thursday series range from the Orchestra, who played last Thursday and are featured on this page,  to cover bands, from Americana to Dixieland Jazz and from swing to original rock and roll.

Symphony at the Bijou, Variety Thursday Concerts on the Square, Knoxville, May 2014

Symphony at the Bijou, Variety Thursday Concerts on the Square, Knoxville, May 2014

Smphony at the Bijou, Variety Thursday Concerts on the Square, Knoxville, May 2014

Symphony at the Bijou, Variety Thursday Concerts on the Square, Knoxville, May 2014

Last week’s concert by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra was moved inside due to concerns about the temperatures which were judged to be too cool for the instruments. In a way I regretted it because it was a lovely night to be on the square and when attending an orchestra concert with a four-year-old, outside is good. Still, it was Urban Girl’s first experience inside the Bijou and it was a good one. The orchestra featured popular selections assuming, I suppose, that we weren’t the audience for hardcore symphonic explorations. Urban Girl loved the jazzier numbers and the Disney Medley.

Symphony at the Bijou, Variety Thursday Concerts on the Square, Knoxville, May 2014

Symphony at the Bijou, Variety Thursday Concerts on the Square, Knoxville, May 2014

Urban Woman and I particularly enjoyed the piece (and I wish I’d kept my program so I could tell you which one, that featured violinist Gabriel Lefkowitz who appeared to be in danger of levitating directly off the stage if not spontaneously combusting. The audience and the musicians alike seemed to enjoy the more relaxed atmosphere of the show and the music, though playful at times displayed the symphony’s usual high standards for performances. Variety Thursday Concerts on the Square run for nine weeks and you’ll find a complete listing at the end of this article. Do notice that the times vary slightly from one Thursday to the next. Come out tonight and hear one of Knoxville’s best cover bands, the Coveralls.

Jazz on the Square, Market Square, Knoxville, May 2014

Jazz on the Square, Market Square, Knoxville, May 2014

This week saw the debut of the “Jazz on the Square” series on Tuesday night. One of my favorite serial events of the season, the band usually features the Marble City Five with Vance Thompson on trumpet, Keith Brown on keyboards, Taylor Coker on bass,  and Nolan Nevels on drums (for May and August, Kenny Brown returns for June and July). Greg Tardy plays saxophone for the band, but Jamel Mitchell sat in for him on the first night.

Jazz on the Square, Market Square, Knoxville, May 2014

Jazz on the Square, Market Square, Knoxville, May 2014

Jazz on the Square, Market Square, Knoxville, May 2014

Jazz on the Square, Market Square, Knoxville, May 2014

I’ve said it before and I’ll likely say it again: We are very, very fortunate to have this caliber of jazz in our land-locked small, Appalachian city. If I had to name the biggest contribution UT has made to my life, it would probably be providing world-class jazz where otherwise there would likely be very little, if any of he genre.

Jazz on the Square, Market Square, Knoxville, May 2014

Jazz on the Square, Market Square, Knoxville, May 2014

Most weeks a motivated person can find jazz playing somewhere downtown four or five nights. We lost Bella Luna, but Bistro at the Bijou features it during the week and weekend, the Emporium hosts a jam session every Sunday, Tuesday’s finds it on Market Square and the Square Room hosts the jazz lunch series. That’s not to mention the Bijou performances of the full jazz orchestra. The series on the square runs every Tuesday Night through August, so be sure to catch as many as possible.

 

Variety Thursday Concerts on the Square:

May 1, 2014: Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, 7:30 – 9:00 PM

May 8, 2014: The Coveralls, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

May 15, 2014: The Knoxville Community Band, 7:00 – 8:00 PM

May 22, 2014: Blackwater Roots, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

May 29, 2014: Swingtime Ensemble Group, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

June 5, 2014: Knoxville Live (JD Bradley and Johnny Newcomb, Subtle Clutch, Laurel Wright), 6:00 – 9:00 PM

June 12, 2014: Old City Buskers, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

June 19, 2014: Baseball the Band, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

June 26, 2014: Kelsey’s Woods, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

Urban Girl and Urban Woman at the Symphony, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, May 2014

Urban Girl and Urban Woman at the Symphony, Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, May 2014 (Urban Girl’s Bijou Debut)

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