Sarah Cooksey, Chattanooga, Tenn. — The month of April is Jazz Appreciation Month and Chattanooga is celebrating all month long.

The month-long “Jazzanooga” Music festival kicked off March 28 and will continue until April 27.

The festival will not be on a repeat of the same music every night at the same place. Altogether, there are over 20 different events.

“Jazzanooga” began in 2010 with a single day festival and has now expanded into the entire month of April.

Adam Stone, sophomore from Hixson, Tenn., plays guitar for the UTC Jazz band. As a self-taught guitarist, jazz music has always appealed to him due to its improvisational manner.

“Improv is where you take nothing specific, nothing that you know, except music theory and scale knowledge,” Stone said. “And you just play it.”

The UTC Jazz band played on April 6 at the Hunter Art Museum. The set included big band, funk, and smooth jazz tunes. The nearly 20 piece band of saxophones, pianos, trombones, trumpets, a tuba, vocalists and rhythm section performed with the Tim Hughes Quartet, Normal Park Jazz Band, UTC Jazz Ensemble, The Undoctored Originals and the Jazzaonooga Youth Music Academy.

The UTC ensemble’s free spring concert will be April 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Roland Hayes Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Center.

“The vision of Jazzanooga is to bring an excellent jazz festival along with ground breaking programs and services,” the Jazzanooga website states.

Jazzanooga events range from a free admission to $55 for the headliners. Some events have a student discount.

Venues include JJ’s Bohemia, Barking Legs Theater, the Bluff View Art District, Bessie Smith Cultural Center, Kirk Walker Community Theater, Siskin children’s Institute and the Tivoli.

One night will feature American Idol contestant Ruben Studdard and Grammy winner Lalah Hathaway. It will be at the Tivoli at 8 p.m.  April 25. The ticket prices begin at $55.

The culinary historian Michael Twitty will demonstrate the cultural similarities between jazz music and soul food at 5:30 p.m.  April 23 at Dish-T-Pass.

The finale of the festival is a performance by Gregory Porter and Avery Sunshine at the Kirk Walker Community theater on at 6:45 p.m. April 27.

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