On Thursday February 7th, Knoxville’s Kelle Jolly—jazz singer, musician, composer, educator, and WUOT jazz radio host—will present Life Gives Me the Blues. Recently, Ms. Jolly told this writer that “somebody is going to write the blues February 7th in Knoxville.” And I believe her. Her first step will be to bring great Tennessee Blues Women from the twenties and thirties to the Knoxville Writers’ Guild. Included will be Knoxville’s own Leola Manning who wrote blues classics ripped from contemporary headlines.
Many blues songs describe current events and read like newspaper headlines. In the 1930’s, Leola Manning of Knoxville, TN wrote the “Arcade Building Moan” after the downtown Gay Street building caught fire. Chattanooga songwriter Bessie Smith composed “Backwater Blues”, which described the life of a flood survivor in the south.
Through these musical and lyrical pioneers, Ms. Jolly will teach us the sublimely simplistic twelve bar blues formula. Those who want to get busy will work within a group, utilize today’s headlines and compose their own collaborative 12 bar blues tune.
And then, with her ukulele, Kelle Jolly and will lead each group in the performance of their instant blues song.
This collaborative creative exercise will be at once an interactive, collaborative opportunity to participate directly in Knoxville’s rich blues music history and an opportunity to experiment with our craft in a wonderfully uncommon manner.
A tradition has begun that at the conclusion of our first Thursday monthly meeting, we gather nearby—short walking distance—at the Elkmont Exchange Brewpub on Broadway. Who knows we might strut our blues there as well.
As always, this event is open to the public, with free admission, but also a suggested donation of $2 or more will help KWG continue to provide Knoxville with engaging and edifying programing.
So, come on out and bring a friend. Whether you dabble in collaborative blues composing or simply witness this unique happening, you will increase your knowledge of our town’s artistic history while having fun.
When: Thursday February 7th @ 7:00 pm until 8:00 pm
Where: Central United Methodist Church—201 East Third Avenue, Knoxville’s Fourth and Gill Neighborhood. Then on to the Elkmont Exchange Brewpub—745 North Broadway
More info about our guide, teacher, and band leader:
Vocalist Kelle Jolly, “The Tennessee Ukulele Lady”, is one of East Tennessee’s most celebrated jazz musicians. She was the 2013 Community Shares- Artist of Change Award recipient. She and her husband, saxophonist Will Boyd, were the 2015 MLK Art Award recipients in Knoxville. She is the founder of Ukesphere of Knoxville, a ukulele group for all ages. As an ambassador of jazz, she has traveled to Muroran, Japan as Knoxville’s Sister City representative at various jazz festivals and events. Kelle Jolly is the host of Knoxville’s newest radio show on WUOT 91.9FM (www.wuot.org), Jazz Jam with Kelle Jolly, an hour-long show that celebrates great singers of jazz. She is also the founder of the Women in Jazz Jam Festival (www.womeninjazzjamfestival.com). Kelle Jolly also designs wearable art for her stage performances and has shown her designs at Knoxville Fashion Week.
- Life Gives Me The Blues
February 7, 2019
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm