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The Jazz Times of Nashville 3/20

The Jazz Times of Nashville is a bi-monthly column from editor and jazz writer Wyatt Parks that provides the reader with a streamlined medium for important Nashville jazz news and insights, including major events and appearances, album releases, and more. The column will put an emphasis on major local and national acts, but also attempts to cultivate the jazz scene by including information about university groups and up-and-coming jazz acts. 

We have got a lot of incredible jazz music coming up in the next couple weeks, featuring everything from professional national acts like the Anderson brothers from NYC, to local favorites like Beegie Adaire, and let’s not forget the Belmont Jazz Festival coming up next week, featuring the university’s top jazz ensembles. Remember to check our calendar for more detailed information for each specific event!

The Nashville Jazz Workshop

Saturday, March 23 7:00 PM – The Beegie Adiare Trio
One of Nashville’s true musical treasures returns to the Jazz Cave. An integral part of Nashville’s music scene for more than four decades, Adaire was a sought-after studio musician in the 60’s and 70’s, and played as a session musician on the Johnny Cash Show from ’69 to ’71. Adaire’s recordings are some of the highest selling in the world, and she was the top selling jazz artist in Japan in 2010. The trio recently released an album titled By Request which is a collection of their most requested songs. Adaire was named a “Jazz Hero” by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2013, and has received numerous other honors and accolades.

The other members of the trio are extremely accomplished musicians in their own right. Bassist Roger Spencer and drummer Chris Brown are both widely respected players, having played with some of the finest musicians in jazz.

Friday, March 29 8:00 PM – Peter and Will Anderson
New York City saxophone-playing brothers Peter and Will Anderson will perform live at the Nashville Jazz Workshop’s Jazz Cave. The brothers are known for their unique takes on classic tunes as well as their innovative original music. They have performed with big-name jazz orchestras like the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Village Vanguard Orchestra, and the Jimmy Heath Big Band, as well as significant individual acts such as Kenny Barron and Albert “Tootie” Heath.

The brothers have also headlined some of jazz’s biggest music venues like the Lincoln Center, the Blue Note, and the Kennedy Center, among many others.

They will be joined by Félix Lemerle on guitar. Lemerle is a French-born NYC-based guitarist who studied classical piano at the conservatory, then taught himself guitar and got a Master’s in Jazz Performance from CUNY Queens College in New York.

Rudy’s Jazz Room

Friday, March 22 8:00 PM – Clark Gibson Sextet featuring Monika Herzig
Originally hailing from Colorado, Clark Gibson has had a long and successful career. Nominated for “Best Jazz Group in Colorado” by Westword Magazine for his quartet at the time, Gibson went on to study jazz at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. There he taught his own private lessons and stayed busy touring with many notable acts including the Temptations, the Four Tops, and the Jim Knapp Orchestra. Gibson has released several records, featuring his original, forward-thinking music, and his latest release, Tri–Colored Eyes,” is set to release early this year.

Pianist Monkia Herzig comes to us from Weingarten, Germany, where she was awarded a one-year foreign exchange scholarship with the University of Alabama in 1987. She has since completed her Doctorate in Music Education and released two books. She has performed with many notable figures, receiving many accolades in the press, including the “Jazz Hero” award from the Jazz Journalists Association in 2015.

Friday, March 22 11:30 PM – Nikki Elias and the Cosmic Collective
Local favorite the Cosmic Collective returns to Rudy’s. Representing the younger jazz scene, the group encompasses many different styles of music, from jazz to R&B to funk to Motown. The group consists of formally trained, active jazz musicians in Nashville, vocalist Nikki Elias, bassist Tyler Enslow, saxophonist DeVante Buford, and others. The group just released this month their new album Self-Titled, following their 2017 release Abstract Notions, which boasted an appearance by Jeff Coffin, renowned saxophonist from Béla Flek & the Flektones and the Dave Matthews Band.

Saturday, March 23 8:00 PM – Rod McGaha
Chicago native Rod McGaha has received a tremendous amount of accolades for his virtuosity and skill, as well as his amazing artistic passion. McGaha has received praise from renowned local jazz artists Jeff Coffin and Victor Wooten, as well as certified jazz legends Max Roach and Clark Terry.

Saturday, March 23 11:30 PM – Geoff Pfeifer Quartet
For the second weekend in a row the Geoff Pfeifer Quartet plays at Rudy’s. Pfeifer offers a gritty, edgy, New York jazz sound that is sure to energize audiences. Playing a mix of Wayne Shorter music and original tunes, the quartet is guaranteed for an exciting show.

Thursday, March 28 6:00 PM – Gypsy Hombres
Anyone interested in experiencing authentic gypsy jazz will not want to miss this show. This trio replicates the essential sounds of the style effortlessly, while simultaneously bringing their own flavor to it. Featuring Nashville multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Rory Hoffman, this group displays incredible technique as well as melodic direction. I was lucky enough to experience this group at their last set at Rudy’s. Check out my review here. 

Friday, March 29 8:00 PM – Stephanie Adlington
Known as “the Siren of the South,” Stephanie Adlington is a working singer, songwriter, actor, and vocal coach. While studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Adlington recorded with folk-rock band Renaissance, producing three critically acclaimed albums. Known for her unique vocal styling, Adlington hearkens back to the prohibition era, giving audiences an escape from everyday life.

Friday, March 29 11:30 PM – David Williford
Knoxville native David Williford draws inspiration from many different avenues. From an early age he played blues and soul music with his father. Now residing in Nashville, Williford studied classical and jazz with artists like Don Aliquo. Williford’s band presents original music, free improvisation, as well as re-imagined standards.

Saturday, March 30 11:30 PM – Oracle Blue
University-jazz-combo-turned-touring-band Oracle Blue presents an incredibly unique take on jazz, combining it with a number of other genres. With strong female vocals and multi-instrumentalists in the horn and rhythm section, this band offers a versatility not often seen in groups like this. Their debut album Golden Kingdoms presents original music as well as their take on jazz standards.

Other Venues

Friday, March 29 7:00 PM – Robert Glasper Trio at City Winery
Robert Glasper is an incredibly versatile pianist, always keeping one foot in jazz and the other in hip-hop and R&B. He’s worked extensively with rapper Q-Tip, providing keyboards on his 2008 record The Renaissance. Glasper’s albums have featured both his acoustic trio, a traditional jazz piano trio lineup, as well as his experimental electric group. For anyone who loves both traditional jazz and the fusion of the old and new, this is a must-see concert. The set will feature Chris Dave and Derrick Hodge with DJ Jahi Sundance.

University Jazz Life

Sunday, March 24 8:00 PM – Blair Jazz Combos at Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music shows off its group of jazz combos. They will be performing a variety of repertoire, including selections from the Great American Songbook, as well as original arrangements and compositions by Blair students. The performance will take place in Turner Recital Hall.

Monday, March 25 8:00 PM – Britain Moore Duo at Vanderbilt
While not specifically a jazz event, this percussion duo certainly brings jazz influence to their performance. Mat Britain (steel pans and percussion) and Dan Moore (marimba, vibes, and percussion) form one of the longest lasting percussion duos working today. Their music is influenced by everything from jazz to folk and pop, and they have influenced a generation of percussionists who have played their music and learned from their style.

March 25-March 30 – Belmont Jazz Festival
Belmont University is hosting its annual jazz festival, which showcases their top jazz ensembles. The schedule is as follows:
Monday, March 25 7:30 PM – Faculty Jazz Group
Tuesday, March 26 7:30 PM – Strings and Bass Ensemble
Wednesday, March 27  7:30 PM – Jazz Band II and Small Group
Thursday, March 28 6:00 PM – Jazz Strings Septet and 8:00 PM – Jazz Small Groups II & III
Saturday, March 30 7:30 PM – Jazzmin and Jazz Band

All performances will be held in Massey Concert Hall, with the exception of Thursday’s performances, which will be held in Curb Café.

Tuesday, March 26 – Big Band Concert at MTSU
MTSU’s premier big band ensemble will perform in Hinton Music Hall. This ensemble is known for outstanding performances, showcasing some of the best student musicianship in the area.

Like I said, a ton of great music and incredible talent in Music City these next two weeks. Be sure to get out and hear some music!

I am always looking for ways to improve my reporting for this column! If you have a resource I can use to improve it, or an event you think would make a good addition, don’t hesitate to contact us at

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