Boyd, Jolly to highlight  Rose Center concert Friday

Kelle Jolly and her husband Will Boyd will perform an Evening of Romance and Jazz at the Rose Center.

In her ongoing effort to bring top notch musical performances to the Lakeway Area, Candy Durman, music coordinator for the Rose Center for the Arts, acknowledged the need for additional funding and funding sources.

Friday’s concert entitled, “An Evening of Romance and Jazz” is sponsored by the Morristown Task Force on Diversity.

The concert takes place at 7 p.m., Friday at Perk Prater Hall at Rose Center for the Arts. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Guests are invited to bring a picnic of snacks and beverages. Tables of four may be purchased for $60, and tables of 8 may be purchased for $120 up until 3 p.m., the day of the show. Individual tickets are available for $15 per person until 3 p.m. the day of the show. After 3 p.m., general admission tickets will be available for $20 per person.

Durman attributes the success of the Music at the Rose program to the efforts of Executive Director Beccy Hamm, who successfully obtained a substantial two-year grant from the East Tennessee Foundation. She also highlights the contributions of individual donors and corporate sponsors.

“This Valentine’s Day, I predict Morristown is going to fall in love,” said Durman.

“If you can believe it, this concert has been in the works since 2018,” Durman said. “It has been a two-year effort, and I can’t believe that the vision for that show will be realized in just a few days.

“As soon as we got word that we had been awarded the grant, my very next phone call was to the fabulous Kelle Jolly. I knew I wanted to bring their signature sound to Morristown, because it is simply magical—and who doesn’t want a little more magic in their life?”

Many people in the arts and entertainment scene in Morristown know the big talent found in the small frame of Kelle Jolly. A founder of the “Women in Jazz Festival” in Knoxville, WUOT’s host of the weekly show “Jazz Jam,” and known as the Ukulele Queen of East Tennessee, Kelle has maintained a connected presence in Morristown over the years. She has performed in Java Jives, has been featured in “From Africa to Appalachia” programs, and has taught ukulele to Rose Center summer campers.

Her husband, Will Boyd, is perhaps less well known, but that is likely about to change.

Boyd’s new jazz album is getting ovewhelmingly positive reviews. According to Bobby E. Davis of “Black Grooves,” which offers reviews of new musical releases by black artists and is maintained by the Archives of African American Music and Culture, described Will Boyd’s new album.

“The project was released to coincide with Juneteenth celebrations, which are holidays observed among Black communities as a de facto independence day commemorating the abolition of slavery and a first step toward inclusion in the greater American dream.” Davis said. “One can hope that Boyd’s originals become standards due to their role in recognizing these important days in history where Black people began to gain their freedom and humanity in the United States of America.

“Sadly there isn’t much (enough) music written to commemorate these important times in American history, and I wanted to do my part in keeping the stories alive,” Boyd said. “’Freedom, Soul, Jazz’ does just that, providing a new soundtrack for these African American celebrations while also re-energizing spirituals and freedom songs.”

Last November, the album was selected by George W. Harris of Jazz Weekly as a “Ringer of the Week”, which indicates to jazz lovers across the world, which new projects are worth their time, attention, and money. An October 2019 review of Will Boyd’s project by the Midwest Record, stated, “One spin through this and you’ll know the real origin of the term ‘joyful noise’-- Well done throughout.”

“This band is the real deal, and I can’t wait to show them off to my own hometown,” Durman said.

In addition to showcasing supremely talented performers, Durman says the folks at Rose Center want to give Morristown a romantic night to remember. And to that end, volunteers, staff, and board members are putting in some extra effort to provide an elegant ambiance to the affair with decorations, treats, prizes, and more.

Curious jazz lovers can find reviews, listening tracks, and videos of Will Boyd and Kelle Jolly at willboydonsax.com