The Westin had a self-service breakfast cafe called Ingredients, which really was quite good and not as expensive as most hotel breakfasts. Then I checked out and headed south into Kentucky to make the long drive through the mountains and into Knoxville.
Arriving fairly late in the afternoon, I went first to JK’s Records on Western Avenue, and then drove out to Hamp’s Music in Oak Ridge. Then I went and checked into my hotel at Alcoa, before heading back up to the Cat’s Music on Kingston Pike. The manager there let me put an Alex King poster display on one of the hanging boards on the wall, and after that, I headed downtown to Calhoun’s on the River for dinner. Knoxville had apparently been hosting the US Wakeboarding Championships, and the event was just winding down for the day as I ate dinner from a table overlooking the Tennessee River.
Afterwards I called the famous jazz pianist Donald Brown, who arranged to meet up with me so we could go hear one of his sons play at a club in downtown Knoxville. I picked up a late from a coffee bar near the UT campus on the way out to Donald’s house, and then he, his brother Graylon and I rode downtown. The group playing was more of a smooth jazz/R & B type group, but it was still fun, at least until they started playing nothing but Michael Jackson songs, but, given the recent events, that was probably what most of the crowd wanted. Later, back at Donald’s house, we were up until nearly 3 Am discussing music and listening to discs. It was very difficult driving back to my hotel room at Alcoa.
The Sanctuary Jazz Orchestra was part of the tribute to James Williams that was being held at the Bartlett Performing Arts Center, so we all met up there around 7 PM.
Not only were we playing there, but also the fine Memphis pianists Mulgrew Miller and Donald Brown, the trumpeter Bill Mobley, and the saxophonist Billy Pierce. Renardo Ward was to have been the drummer for much of the gig, but he was sick, and was replaced by James Sexton, who did a great job on probably short notice. Even though it was a mainstream jazz event, it was a sell-out, and the room was full to capacity!
There was a Denny’s just outside the resort gate, so I ate breakfast there and then headed south on I-75 toward Tennessee, stopping once for a breve latte at Starbucks Coffee. Once I was in Tennessee, I headed south into Oak Ridge, where I left some Haystak materials at Hamp’s Records before driving into Knoxville. I spent the remainder of the afternoon visiting JK’s Records and Cat’s Music in Knoxville, but going to the east side of Knoxville proved to be rather difficult because I-40 had been closed downtown. On Magnolia Avenue, I found that Where It’s At Records had closed, so I drove out to Sevierville, and made my last visit of the day at the Cat’s Music there. Further east, near Dandridge, there was a restaurant called Cowboy’s on the shore of a reservoir, and I ate dinner there, although the lake view was better than the food, in my opinion. Down in the little town of Dandridge, there was a crowd gathered at a barbecue and steak restaurant, and I walked around the area, snapping photos of old historic buildings and homes. Across the lake, there was a new motel, with a restaurant called Angelo’s at the Point, but I had already eaten, so I got back in my car and headed back toward Knoxville. On the Tennessee River downtown, there was a gathering of Knoxville-area Parrot Heads, as the fans of Jimmy Buffett are called. They were having a picnic, cook-out and live music concert, and it appeared that they were getting ready for a boat trip as well. I went to the Calhoun’s on the River restaurant there and enjoyed a slice of key lime pie while watching the sun set over the river and listening to music playing outside on the riverfront deck. I had called Memphis jazz pianist Donald Brown to see if he knew of any jazz going on in Knoxville, but he wasn’t playing, and one of his sons was playing in Crossville, Tennessee and the other was playing at a Knoxville brewhouse, but the place was a rock club, and he didn’t expect they would be playing jazz. So I settled for a jazz club called Swanks in Maryville, and found that there was a quartet playing there, although the music was more R & B than jazz. Driving back to Knoxville, I rolled past Baker Peters Jazz Club, but there the music was loud from the outside balcony, and was definitely rock, so I made my way back to my room at the Holiday Inn. The hotel was crowded with Pop Warner football kids in town for some kind of tournament, and they seemed to be running all over the hotel, but I had no trouble falling asleep.