Things don't always work out like they were supposed to. The anticipated premiere of the documentary A Place for Me: Jazz in a Small Southern City won't actually be taking place as originally scheduled during this weekend's Knoxville Jazz Festival. The local movie still hasn't been finished, and may not be ready until next summer. But there will be a short 20- to 30-minute preview of the documentary, which tracks the history of jazz in Knoxville from the string bands of the 1920s through the big-band era and the days of the Townhouse and Blue Note nightclubs on Cumberland Avenue in the 1950s to the present.
Producer Nelda Hill, one of the organizers of the Jazz Festival, and director Steve Anderson have compiled hours of footage of interviews with local musicians—Donald Brown, Keith Brown, Mark Boling, Rocky Wynder, Emily Mathis, and more—and commentators like concert promoter Ashley Capps and City Councilman Chris Woodhull, one of the hosts of WUOT 91.9 FM's Improvisations jazz program. Hill says she hopes the preview will prompt anyone who has recordings, home movies, or stories about jazz in Knoxville to come forward.
"We're looking to tell a story about music in Knoxville and people who play music in Knoxville," Hill says. "But it's bigger than that. There's a national story here, too. In many ways Knoxville is unique, but in many other ways it's part of the American mainstream."
Preview of A Place for Me: Jazz in a Small Southern City • East Tennessee History Center (601 S. Gay St.) • Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010 • 3:30 p.m. • Free