Jazz was once the heartbeat of MLK Boulevard, it brought the area to life. The vibrating beat of drums, the electrifying flare of trumpets, and the deep
pulse of basses beckoned people.
Today, Jazzanooga brings people together once again through events, programs, education, radio, and art, all grounded in the rich southern-born history
of jazz. Founded in 2011, Jazzanooga is focused on both celebrating the legacy and the future of Jazz, while also reconnecting our community to the
rich legacy of the MLK neighborhood.
Some of their most successful programs are their youth programs, which are offered in the spring, summer, and fall for ages 12-18. Lead by community artists and performers, students learn the art of instrumental, dance, spoken word, and DJing while understanding the history of jazz and its influence on American culture today.
Once the students make it through the program, Jazzanooga comes alongside them and offers scholarships to those pursuing education beyond high school. They partner with the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga to help students with financial aid and find the best scholarships to further their education. They also work to give students the unique opportunity to become professional musicians right out of high school.
One young man, Jalil Muhammad, graduated the Jazzanooga youth program and headed to Lee University for college. Jazzanooga offered him the opportunity
to showcase his talents in front of a live audience and keep all the proceeds from the door. Jalil pulled together an ensemble of fellow Lee student
musicians and packed out the place with over 100 attendees. It gave Jalil and his fellow students a glimpse into what fulfilling their dreams of becoming
professional musicians could look like.
Our hope is that MLK Boulevard once becomes a becomes a cultural mosaic for all people. A gathering place where the streets are buzzing with activity, events, music, restaurants, and people. We recognize that there is no cookie cutter plan available for revitalizing an area; it takes a community of people who care. We plan to continue to support those people and organizations who honor history, care about the revival of MLK Boulevard, and create opportunities for the future.
Click here to learn more about Jazzanooga and their unique programs and events.