Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 049 small“Some who have made their way to Music City think that it is all about country music…OH NO!!!”

The Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards started up about 4:30 in Printers Alley just a few doors down from Jimi Hendrix’s old gig with Billy Cox back in the day at The Black Poodle inside Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar which boogies all week long with Blues, Jazz and plenty of fretboard sweat.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 056 smallGil Gann was hot and MC for the night cuttin’ it up and gettin’ down on the guitar.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 014 smallPhase 6 acted as house band, while the all-stars rotated on and off the stage like a Pancake Buffet Breakfast at Shoney’s.

The awards show is sponsored by The Marion James Musicians Aid Society which helps musicians in need, especially from the rich rhythm and blues heritage that was on and off Jefferson Street from the fifties through the mid-seventies.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 009Tina Brown really started getting things going like Tina Turner on an Etta James afternoon. Tina has a strong voice and personality to match.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 016 smallNashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 107 smallPhase 6 features two generations of serious players; Samuel Dismuke on bass and Samuel Dismuke Jr. on dual duty as vocalist and Trombonist. Long time collaborator Eddie Carter still kicks it on the drums.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 089 smallNashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 013 smallAlabama Blues master, Debbie Bond, played her first set in Nashville at The Jazz and Blues Awards warming up the crowd with a teaser song early on before coming back and playing a set later on in the show. When Debbie Bond took the stage for her full set with Moe Denham sitting in on Hammond B3, she brought some serious Alabama roots with a little of her Willie King experience as well as some Eddie Hinton style Muscle Shoals groove to the local Blues venue. It was a welcome change to what could be considered a get your game on attitude among Nashville’s players.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 052 smallAwards were given out in several categories to artists that gig in and around Nashville. Jefferson Street Sound Artist, Don Adams won best Bassist while Regi Wooten won best Jazz Guitarist of the year.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 104 smallRegi Wooten did a barnburner abbreviated set starting out with a laidback jazz version of “Crystal Blue Persuasion” taking the band as far as he could with some John McLaughlin sans Vernon Reid go where you wanna go Lead guitar work that turned it up a notch. Regi’s band, The Wooten Brothers, which tear down the house every Wednesday night at 3rd & Lindsley, took home Best Live band of the year.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 115 smallNashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 109 smallLola Brown sang backup for Marion James before taking the spotlight herself later with her backup band Area Black featuring Jerome Preston on Bass after Jerome finished a set with Regi Wooten. Lola put it all out there after winning R&B Vocalist of the Year. Lola really brought the church into the boogie bar.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 068 smallMarion James took home a pair of awards which were judged by local Blues and Jazz Artists as well as some special attendees for Female Blues Singer of the Year as well as her recent Ellersoul release, Northside Soul for album of the year. Northside Soul has garnished some national recognition with rave reviews in several publications as well as awards from B.B. King’s Sirius Radio Channel and a Top Ten on the Living Blues Charts.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 081 smallMarion James’s set was a barnburner with her singing from her gut, old school, Otis Redding reborn experience thrown into, “I Just Want To Make Love To You.” Marion is the heart and soul of Nashville R&B history having released three singles on three different labels back in the day, one written by her husband Buzz Stewart on Excello, the top ten hit, “That’s My Man” as well as two other songs by two individuals tied to Jimi Hendrix who used to play guitar for her back when, Billy Cox and Larry Lee.

In more recent times, Marion has released three solid albums in the last dozen years that not only spotlight her voice, but, some excellent songwriting that would not only put her in the spot as “Nashville’s Queen of The Blues” but within an elite group of two or three as Queen of The Blues from a last Blues woman standing viewpoint since the passing of Precious Bryant in January.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 062 smallThe Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards is something a very down home event in complete contrast to the glitz and glam of the Country music industry. Marion James almost singlehandedly has wanted to support recognition for the Blues and R&B community of Nashville.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 004 smallMarion James has this to say: “Down through the years, everyone has come through or stumbled upon Nashville, Tennessee to either visit or make their mark in the music industry. Some who have made their way to Music City think that it is all about country music…OH NO!!!

R&B, Jazz and the Blues have been around for more than just some time.  Matter of fact Jazz and Blues are all around you in all of the music.  So we are actually not hard to find.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 034 smallThere have been a number of very good musicians that come through Nashville.  Some could read, some couldn’t, some could  write it down on paper, and some only needed to hear your idea and could play it the first go round.  It really didn’t matter because they were very well seasoned and could accommodate any artists that needed them.

Most of our Legends like, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Jones, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Charles Dungey, Milt Turner, Ted Jarrett, just to name a few, have passed on and we must turn the baton over to some of the younger generation, who are worthy, to carry the torch and pave a new way out of what they were brought up on…Jazz, R&B and Blues, and carry on the tradition of the root of it all and with some new and original twists added.

We must continue to raise funds and support these new comers as if we taught them ourselves, as if we have rubbed off on them and put a little of our soul into their soul so that WE may live on in them. Knowing that they will continue in what we love so much and that is “THE MUSIC.”

This is why I love giving the Jazz and Blues Awards event every year.  It is an annual event that shows our younger people that we see them, we recognize them, we are watching them, but most importantly we are encouraging them.

So move over Country music and make room for our up and coming talent and artists. Offer them a hand up and a way to succeed. Allow them to keep the music coming and growing. Let’s keep them in the spotlight, because there is a Jazz, Blues and R&B artist standing in the wings, waiting for you to reach out and give them a helping hand.”

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

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