Tennessee Jazz & Blues Society
The Tennessee Jazz & Blues Society, Inc. (TJBS) was formed in 1972, in conjunction with the Tennessee Arts Commission, to bring together individuals in the state who were interested in and dedicated to our living national treasure, Jazz & Blues. In 1975 it became a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. The membership is comprised all kinds of people, from all walks of life and in all professions, who have a love and appreciation for jazz, blues and the artists who provide this uniquely American cultural music.
From the beginning the TJBS was involved in promoting jazz and blues in the schools. An annual three-day Jazz Festival brought in two dozen high school and college bands from around Tennessee to perform with jazz legends like the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Stan Kenton Orchestra, Thad Jones Mel Lewis Orchestra, Jean-Luc Ponty, Louie Bellson, and others. Many other activities included “Jazz Showcases” in conjunction with NARAS, Jazz Film Nights, benefit concerts for the American Cancer Society, Cumberland Heights and others, Big Band Dinner Dances, and many sponsored performances of local jazz and blues artists around Nashville.
For ten years the TJBS presented a syndicated public radio show, UPBEAT, hosted by two of its founding members. TJBS has been a major contributor to our jazz public radio station, WMOT Jazz 89. In 2001 a former TJBS Director launched a significant new weekly music/documentary show called “JAZZ On The Side”, a fascinating look at the music and lives of great “sidemen” and women in jazz history. The show was heard weekly on WMOT and was broadcast world-wide on the internet.
For many years their summer “Concert On The Lawn” series brought thousands of families to beautiful historic sites like the Belle Meade Plantation, Cheekwood, and The Hermitage to hear the finest jazz and blues artists of all styles. With weather and economics bringing about the end of this series, TJBS continues to evolve with TJBS…CONNECTING, SUPPORTING, AND SERVING JAZZ & BLUES new and provocative performance, educational, community, and research concepts and activities.