If it’s all about rhythm and swing, tight arrangements and dizzying solos, wailing sax and lush piano melodies, check out some of these venues where jazz fans gather.
In Memphis, there’s good food and smooth jazz to be had at several spots on Beale Street, including King’s Palace Cafe, BB King’s, Alfred’s, the Rum Boogie Bar and Jaguar. There’s a dedicated jazz fan base in Memphis, and most of them know to check in with the Memphis Jazz Foundation for area concerts and jazz-related events.
The Nashville Jazz Workshop is an excellent source of all things jazz, including concerts, radio shows and classes on everything from Jazz in the Movies to composition. Stillwaters Cafe, 1207 Jefferson St., has live jazz at lunch four days a week, and Jazz Workshop artists appear regularly at Edgehill Studios Cafe and Cafe Coco, 210 Louise Ave.
Heading east, stop in Knoxville at the elegant Baker Peters Jazz Club, in a historic mansion at 9000 Kingston Pike, where you can hear several excellent jazz groups, including some impressive (and Grammy-winning) names from the University of Tennessee’s outstanding jazz program. The Crown and Goose in the Old City, Sapphire on Gay Street and The Square Room on historic Market Square are among several downtown locations with regular performances, including weekly jazz lunches with the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra.
In Chattanooga, relax to some smooth sounds at Rhythm and Brews or Blue Orleans. For upscale dining with your music, try the Palms at Hamilton or Table 2. While you’re in town, see who’s playing at the eclectic Barking Legs Theater. If you're in town the first weekend in May, don't miss the Chattanooga Traditional Jazz Festival held at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Holiday Inn—nothin’ could be finer!