Women in Jazz Draws Crowd of Over 600

Children from Hamblen County : 7th and 8th graders perform during the festival.

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — The weather was beautiful with a hint of Spring in the air. The crowds that flowed  into the Knoxville Museum of Art were happy; all on one accord. Their 

Jeanine Fuller captivated the crowd. Photos by Vivian Shipe

mission: to enjoy some of the finest women musicians from the region. The Friday night jam session, the first of a two day event did not start until 6 pm. However, by 530, the venue was already half full and would reach maximum capacity within 30 minutes of the show. The steady flow of followers of these fantastic musician’s and singers would continue all day and into the sunset on Saturday at the Knoxville Center Mall. The weekend featured jazz singers, musical instruments of all types, original compositions,  poetry set to music,  a group performance and introduced one of Knoxville’s finest drummers; a rarity in the field,  Faith Harris who turned it out on Saturday with her fantastic drumming skills.

Faith Harris drummer extraordinare

The Women in Jazz Jam Festival  (WJJF), celebrates women in jazz. Every year, under the direction of  founder Kelle Jolly, the festival promotes women and allows them to network and gain experience. According to Jolly, “ the Women in Jazz Jam Festival is a model that can be used worldwide to create a pipeline for opportunities in jazz for women and girls.” 

In keeping with this vision, the Saturday event featured young students performing clarinet and flute ensembles who are  in the 7th and 8th grades from West View Middle

Women in Jazz singers perform at the Knoxville Museum of Art.

School, and  Lincoln Heights Middle School from Hamblen County in Morristown Tennessee.

When asked about her vision going forward, Kelly said, “We have to create space for us to nurture each other. WJJF has been that space for four years.”

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