Five Fridays of Jazz in Memphis

Memphis is known for its role in the history of music, from serving as the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll to the home of the soulful sounds of the Memphis Sound and the home of the blues.

Whether it’s gospel, country, rap or jazz, Memphis plays an important role in music. The city is playing a part in the celebration of jazz with Five Fridays of Jazz, an event through March and April that celebrates International Jazz Month.

The Levitt Shell and the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library are teaming up for #5FridaysOfJazz. The series of free jazz concerts provides an opportunity for the Memphis community to be introduced to jazz while exploring the library.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the Levitt Shell in these premier events,” said Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library Manager Stacey Smith, in a statement. “This is a great opportunity for the library to showcase a different side of our customers – music lovers who love jazz.”

The jazz events will run on five select Fridays in March and April at the library’s courtyard from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The evening will feature music, food and drink in the library. Attendees can pre-order a more complete menu 36 hours in advance by calling 901-278-0028 or emailing michelle@forkitovercatering.com. Click herefor a complete menu.

“The real experience is the after hours with music, dancing if you choose, food and drinks beneat the stars,” said Henry Nelson, strategic partnerships coordinator with the Levitt Shell, in a statement. “The aesthetic beauty of Central Library’s courtyard is the perfect setting, and it’s free.

“Each jazz ensemble performing at these free concerts is a celebration of the rich musical history that originated in Memphis and extends into so many genres in many places,” Nelson continued. “This is an exciting time to be experiencing and enjoying more of what you will hear on the Levitt Shell stage in seasons to come.”

March 4           Memphis Standard Time Quartet

March 18         Carl & Alan Maguire’s Quintet featuring Alvie Givhan

April 1             Rhodes College Jazz Band and Faculty Players featuring Joyce Cobb

April 15           Paul McKinney and The Knights of Jazz

April 29           Bill Hurd Jazz Ensemble

The Five Fridays of Jazz event is part of April’s Jazz Appreciation Month, which culminates with International Jazz Day on April 30. The first International Jazz Day was April 30, 2012. It was created by UNESCO in November 2011 in an effort to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people around the world.

International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics and jazz fans from around the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact. It’s also meant to raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.

Washington serves as the International Jazz Day 2016 global Host City.