It is the only remaining cohesive area historically associated with Chattanooga African Americans. Today, it's called the MLK historic district and it borders the city's central business district, occupying roughly five blocks between Houston and University streets. While Memphis, Nashville and Bristol can take the bulk of the credit for changing the face of American music, it doesn't mean that other southern towns and cities like Chattanooga weren't contributing voices and talent.
Of course, Bristol is best known for being the site of the first commercial recordings of country music with Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, and is also the birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford. Nashville is home to the Grand Ole Opry which we had an opportunity to experience last year and the very impressive Country Music Hall of Fame.
This era obviously influenced the musical talents coming out of Chattanooga. In addition to Bessie Smith, double bassist Jimmy Blantonmember of Duke Ellington's band, jazz blues pianist Lovie Austintrumpeter and singer Valaida Snowmulti-instrumentalist and composer Yusef Lateefand saxophonist Bennie Wallace were also born in Chattanooga. It got its biggest plug in the big band swing song "Chattanooga Choo Choo" which is still popular today among my swing dancing crowd. While I sadly didn't get a Big Band fix while I was there, I did get a taste of banjo player Matt Downer who was part of the Rock City Music weekends, which is particularly popular among families in the summer.
Matt has an old world style to his banjo playing and also plays fiddle and guitar as well. There is plenty of banjo and fiddling music happening in Chattanooga, especially in the summer - below, Mala Patterson plays at Rock City on a summer weekend.
We didn't catch any classical music either, but it's worth noting that Chattanooga does have a LP) Orchestra, which has been around for 83 years. While I love both classical and opera music, blues has a special place in my heart and our Delta Blues experience in Clarksdale Mississippi was incredible - be sure to Con Te Sulla Spiaggia - Various - Chattanooga (Baile De Salon) (Vinyl my write-up on Clarksdale as it exceeded our expectations as a stop on our cross country trip.
If you're a music lover or historian, you must take a tour of the former Big 9 District, which today they simply refer to as MLK. Today, you'll find the MLK Mural along the main drag, which is one of the largest murals in the country. The images and people in the mural are inspired by real people, stories and the history of the neighborhood, including in some not so pleasant times.
Jazzanooga I was fortunate to take a stroll through MLK with a local musician who while not native to Chattanooga, is a wealth of information. Meet Shane Morrow, the co-founder and director of an initiative called Jazzanooga, which was founded in as a citywide celebration of jazz.
Yes, it draws from the cultural relevance and history of Chattanooga, but it also provides a festive platform where diverse communities can gather and celebrate the city's extraordinary jazz heritage. They do regular performances in its downtown space and provide music education. Truth be told, Shane has done so much more than change the face of Chattanooga's music scene. By giving opportunities to youth who may have never had a chance to advance their talent or receive mentorship, new music talent is not just born here, but is thriving.
In the same part of town sits the Bessie Smith Cultural Center, which features a variety of entertainment, from local jazz and gospel to soul and blues music. Two thumbs up for this vibrantly alive center whose mission is to promote cultural and artistic excellence and foster education of African and African American heritage.
There are of course, larger programs and events, such as the annual Jazzanooga Music Festival held every April, and make Music Day Chattanooga, which was held on June 21 of this year, a day dedicated to the city's local LP). Musicians of all ages and levels performed live on streets, sidewalks, rooftops, venues and parks throughout the city, a celebration that was started in France in and has grown to include more than cities in countries.
In October of this year, Songbirds Timeless Guitars is slated to open with never-before-seen-pictures of rare vintage guitars. The collection is an unparalleled storehouse of nearly timeless historic guitars and exhibits will be refreshed periodically to celebrate new chapters in guitar history.
Speaking of guitars, read my piece on Gruhn Guitar's 45th anniversary where I had a unique opportunity to meet and interview legendary founder George Gruhn when we passed through Nashville last year. Almost nightly, there is something to experience in Chattanooga's music scene. Below, Con Te Sulla Spiaggia - Various - Chattanooga (Baile De Salon) (Vinyl, Nick Lutsko plays a song on acoustic guitar as he sings to eight of us who lounge out on a school lawn on a hot sticky June evening.
Nick Lutsko and his band of puppet players were named winners of the Road to Nightfall competition, edging out Athens, Tennessee-based Mendingwall for the victory. News U. HuffPost Personal Video Horoscopes. Newsletters Coupons. Follow Us. His handle?
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