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Jermaine Purifory
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Robin Grant

If you go

› What: Jazzanooga One-Year Anniversary events

› When: Today-Sunday, Dec. 8-11.

› Where: Jazzanooga, 431 E. M.L. King Blvd.

› Admission: By donation.

› Website: jazzanooga.org.

Schedule
Note: Students from Jazzanooga’s Youth Music Academy will serve as the opening act of each anniversary show.

› Today, Dec. 8: Center for Creative Arts music students, directed by Neshawn Calloway, 6:30-9 p.m.

› Friday, Dec. 9: Nightcap Series featuring Jermaine, 8-10 p.m.

› Saturday, Dec 10: Nightcap Series featuring Robin Grant, 8-10 p.m.

› Sunday, Dec 11: Jam & Soul Brunch featuring Nancy Westmoreland, 1:30-3 p.m.

› Phone: 423-402-0452

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Neshawn Calloway

Back in 2011, Shane Morrow had this crazy idea of producing a series of concerts and events that would showcase Chattanooga's rich musical history, especially as it relates to jazz, and bring people of all walks of life together.

Jazzanooga was born, and he readily admits he never imagined it would be so successful that he would one day be sitting in an office space dedicated to Jazzanooga or that it would become a year-round endeavor. But it has.

Jazzanooga, the office/building/creative rental space, is celebrating one year of existence on M.L. King Boulevard with — what else? — a series of events. Four concerts are planned beginning today and running through Sunday, Dec. 8-11.

"It's amazing to me," Morrow says. "We have been so embraced by the community. We grew so quickly, so we are meeting a need. There was definitely a gap there that I think is more than music and more than art."

Over the last year, Jazzanooga has hosted workshops, meetings, classes and shows by arts organizations, teachers and other creatives. Events have been hosted by Chattanooga Links, Velvet poetry, Cha Noisemakers, BJS Productions, NBM Lifestyle, PechaKucha, Speakeasy Revue and Chambliss Law Firm's Startup Social, among others.

"We are grateful that people see that we are trying to play a small but crucial role in this community," he says.

Jazzanooga also played host to a special guest back in September when superstar singer Usher made a stop there. The R&B star spent his youth here, attending Dalewood Middle School. He returned there on Sept. 9 for a concert that was filmed as part of the State Farm Neighborhood Sessions series.

"Having Usher come to Jazzanooga that was a mind-blower for me," Morrow says. "For him to come into the space and recognize the work that we are doing, that was a big one."

Morrow says other highlights include bringing the Sunday brunch event to the Jazzanooga space from the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.

"To see people from all walks — black, white and Latino — sitting together was amazing. It's mind-blowing to me."

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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The next Jam & Soul Brunch at Jazzanooga will feature vocalist Nancy Westmoreland.
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