Spirits soared high as Knoxville’s fanciest philanthropists filed into the Crowne Plaza ballroom on Friday, Nov. 10, for a pleasurable night of music and dancing. Sponsored in part by BLANK Newspaper, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the renowned New Orleans group who plays a swinging brand of the city’s namesake music, entertained in a unique manner with a show benefitting Legacy Housing Foundation.
According to the nonprofit’s website, Legacy Housing Foundation is an organization established by community and business leaders who aim to improve the quality of life for individuals, families, seniors and people with disabilities by helping them find affordable housing. It also attempts to address social, economic and physical issues in order to improve the lifestyles of underprivileged people who call Knoxville home.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has championed New Orleans-style jazz for more than 50 years. Carrying that torch north to Knoxville, they performed with a fiery passion before a lively crowd at the downtown hotel. The attendees bounced jubilantly to the multifarious grooves and brandished handkerchiefs over their heads as the band joyously trotted around the stage.
After receiving rousing applause and calls for an encore, the band returned and played some fan-favorite covers, including the old gospel tune, “I’ll Fly Away,” the Jacksons’ “I Want You Back” and Stevie Wonder’s hit, “Sir Duke.” The concert became a collective effort, with the energetic audience belting out lyrics to accompany the fervently performing band.
Sweet Audrey’s Jazz Club, prospectively opening in the Regas Square development adjacent to the Mill & Mine in 2018, was (along with many others) a sponsor of the event. The night served as an enticing preview of what the venue might offer our burgeoning burg, and it sparked a hope for continued growth and support of jazz culture in Knoxville.