Born on a sunny LA summer day, in the backseat of his musician parents’ Buick Century, Jamel Mitchell arrived on his own terms. His father, the late James Mitchell, baritone saxophonist for the world-renowned Memphis Horns, encouraged his son to pursue a similar but more prescriptive yet individualized path. A graduate of Memphis’ Overton High School for the Performing Arts, Jamel honed his natural talent under the helm of seasoned professionals turned academics. Accepting a full scholarship to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Jamel went on to achieve a BA and MA in Jazz Performance, studying with Jerry Coker, Donald Brown and Greg Tardy.
An avid and passionate performer, Jamel’s sound is distinctly rooted in generational infused timbre and authenticity. During his captivating performances, you will hear the expertise and investment of all of those Jamel encountered along the way, equally balanced with his individual flavor. As a child, Jamel sought to emulate his father’s work ethic and quality which help build the Memphis sound of his Uncle Willie Mitchell’s Royal Recording Studio. The village that help craft Jamel’s unique sound extended beyond the Mitchell family to the larger global music community. Jamel has worked with numerous influential artists throughout his career, including Donald Brown, The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, Five Plus Six, Ann Peebles, The Hi Rhythm Section, Frayser Boy, Al Kapone, William Bell, Otis Clay, Bobby Rush, The Black Lilies, and Robinella to name a few.
The prescriptive path has led Jamel to continually share his talent with the world, as he embarks on his career as a solo artist. Jamel is presently based in Knoxville, TN.
Bethany is a professional violinist and teacher based in Knoxville, TN. She has performed and recorded with many well known musicians and performs regularly with internationally recognized bassist, Rusty Holloway.
Many people recognize Bethany from her two years performing at the Bijou Theatre with the Tennessee Shines House Band, a live radio show hosted by Nashville’s finest, Jim Lauderdale.
She holds a B.M. degree in Music Education from the University of Tennessee where she studied both classical and jazz performance. In addition, she has completed Suzuki violin teacher training with nationally recognized teacher trainers including Marilyn O’Boyle, Allen Leib, and Mary Cay Neal. Bethany is a registered teacher with the Suzuki Association of the Americas.
Bethany has many years of experience playing, singing, and recording in a variety of styles including classical, jazz, rock, folk, swing, and Americana. She performs regularly with a wedding trio, her jazz trio, various singer-songwriters, contemporary Christian rock groups, and other jazz and Americana groups.
Bethany can arrange the perfect group and style of music for any event. Click on the “Audio” tab to hear some sample clips from her shows. Contact Bethany to book “Bethany Hankins and Friends” for your next event.
Bethany has been teaching violin for over sixteen years, which accounts for over half her life. She holds high expectations for her students, but nurtures an enjoyable learning environment. Her students progress to high levels of playing and learn to perform in groups as well as soloists. Each of her students develop a love for the instrument and a deep appreciation for music.
Click on the “Lessons” tab to learn more. Contact Bethany to inquire about openings in her studio.
Accomplished keyboardist … gifted vocalist … sought after composer and studio musician, Brian Clay has been a principal player in an Atlanta smooth jazz scene that boosts some of the best musicians in the country.
He has shared the stage as an opening act or supporting player for jazz legends including George Duke, David Sanborn, Stanley Clark, Gato Barbieri, as well as comtemporary jazz all-stars like Norman Brown, Gerald Albright, The Rippingtons, Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum and Euge Groove.
Brian’s style on piano draws comparisons to the likes of Joe Sample and Bob James, while his vocal style conjures up the spirits of Nat King Cole, Donny Hathaway and Luther Vandross. His stage presence is magnetic and his performances are dynamic.
Brian combines an extraordinary talent with an amazing knowledge of the contemporary jazz genre as well. He is a veteren radio broadcaster with over 18 years of expereince; 10 years of which he was an air-personality on Atlanta’s Smooth Jazz 107.5 WJZZ. He is also creator and program director for his own internet station and long-form syndicated radio program called JAZZSPIRATIONS; a program that features the genre known as inspirational jazz or gospel jazz.
In the Fall of 2013, Brian debuted JAZZSPIRATIONS on Knoxville radio. You can hear the program every Sunday afternoon from 3pm-6pm on Knoxville’s historic 99.7fm WJBE.
Brian has 5 CD’s to his credit. His first release, entitled “The Nu Flava”, was recorded with his band KOMPANI and featured Gospel Jazz instrumentals and vocals. He followed that CD with “Tell Me”, a collection of contemporary gospel tracks. His third release was a collaboration with Atlanta singer songwriter Pamela Best called “Word and Music.” Then Brian produced a solo jazz project called “Lookin for Something.” This CD is a smooth jazz project of groove oriented instrumentals and romantic and smooth vocal tracks. Brian’s most recent release is “Honey Grove Lane,” written, produced and recorded in Knoxville at his home studio which is, of course, located on Honey Grove Lane.
Keith L. Brown is a pianist, composer, bassist and educator. This son of three-time Grammy nominated jazz pianist Donald Brown was born in Memphis, TN and raised in Knoxville, TN. Keith earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 2009 and completed his Masters of Music Degree in May 2011. In 2010, Keith was invited to Meudon, France to record his debut jazz CD entitled “Sweet and Lovely” on the Space Time Records label. CD personnel included Essiet Essiet, Marcus Gilmore, Stephane Belmondo, and Baptiste Herbin. His CD was released world-wide on April 15th, 2011 to rave reviews. Keith’s piano virtuosity has placed him in demand on the international jazz scene.
Keith L. Brown began playing piano and bass at an early age. Born into a musical family, both Keith’s parents played music and many of his aunts and uncles are exceptionally musically talented as well. His father Donald is a world renowned jazz pianist having performed with many greats and his mother Dorothy is a pianist also and plays various woodwind instruments. Keith first learned to play songs of R&B artists like Stevie Wonder by ear and then started classical piano lessons at 8yrs old. Donald Brown nurtured Keith’s musical ambitions by teaching him how to play his original compositions and jazz standards. Keith was also influenced by artists such as Phineas Newborn Jr., James Williams, and Mulgrew Miller. Keith and his brothers, Kenneth (drums) and Donald Brown Jr., were deep into hip-hop and rap music growing up. Keith began to study jazz seriously after he graduated high school. By age 18, Keith was playing piano and bass around Knoxville in a variety of jazz, r&b, funk, and country bands.
Since he began playing jazz, at the age of 18, Keith has been fortunate to perform and record with some amazing musicians. Keith has shared the stage with such jazz veterans as Mike Clark, Jeff Coffin, Essiet Essiet, Bill Mobley and his String Orchestra, Billy Pierce Greg Tardy, and Warren Wolf. In April 2015, Keith was asked to do a short tour with the NPP All-Star Quartet which featured Bobby Watson, Ray Drummond, and Marvin “Smitty” Smith. Keith has also performed with some of the great young musicians today such as Kenneth Whalum III, Marcus Gilmore, French saxophonist Baptist Herbin and many others. Keith continues to draw inspiration from his roots in R&B, Funk, Classic, Jazz and Hip-Hop and constantly explores new ways of integrating these influences. “I always try to write and perform in a way that is intellectual but that has a strong sense of melody or groove that can touch those who are open enough to listen.” Keith recently completed a new recording project that will be released in Fall of 2015 on the Space Time Record Label. The album features mostly original compositions by Keith and features saxophonist Greg Tardy on tenor, Kenneth Whalum III on tenor and soprano saxophones, Clint Mullican on bass, Jamel Mitchell on tenor saxophone, Mike Seal on guitar, and Grammy Award Winning drummer Terreon Gully who also serves as the producer.
Kevin McGuire is a musician, singer, arranger and songwriter whose specialty is playing to the crowd. He easily transitions from current pop, jazz standards, classic rock, rhythm & blues, classical, country, reggie, and funk.
He has worked with artists from L.A. to New York as well as several Grand Old Opry artists, including Dolly Parton.
At home in the Smokies, he works as musical director/producer for several Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg musical production shows.
He is the owner of Entertainment Services, a one-stop shop which provides musicians and disc jockey/emcees for private and public events.
As a filmmaker, he produces several online shows that feature his live looping compositions, including “Live From Gatlinburg” a live streaming show featuring the sights and sounds of the Smokies.
Kevin currently lives in East Tennessee and enjoys: hiking, TED talks and Stanley Kubrick films.
Instruments: Piano, Keyboards, Accordion, Harmonica, Melodica
Will Yager is a bassist currently living and working in the greater East Tennessee area. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Maryville College in 2011 and completed his Master of Music in String Bass Performance under the tutelage of Rusty Holloway at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 2013. During his time at the University of Tennessee, Will also had the privilege of studying with Donald Brown, Gregory Tardy, Keith Brown, and Vance Thompson. Will is an active performer in Knoxville; he leads his own jazz trio with Bill Swann and Keith Brown, plays with many of the area’s other prominent musicians, and is a member of the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra. He currently teaches bass and assists with the jazz ensemble at Maryville College.
Kelle Jolly is a graduate of South Carolina State University, where she earned a B.S. in Music Education with concentrations in Voice. Kelle is the co-host of “What’s Going On with Robert Minter”, a community television show and “Jazz Jam with Kelle Jolly”, a radio show on WOUT 91.9. She is a member of TN Jazz & Blues Society. Kelle Jolly was the 2011 Mountain Soul Vocal Competition Winner. She is also2013 Community Shares- Artist of Change Award recipient.
Kelle is a visual and musical artist who currently lives in Knoxville with her saxophonist husband, Will Boyd. Will Boyd is a native of Orangeburg, SC and a graduate of South Carolina State University. Will received his Master of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of Tennessee.
He is a member of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. Will is a multi-instrumentalist who teaches private lessons and leads clinics for jazz learners.
In 2006, the musical couple represented the city of Knoxville at its sister city’s jazz festival in Muroran, Japan. In 2008 they were married there. And as a gift to the city of Muroran, Japan, Kelle and Will recorded the album, Dreams of Muroran. Their wedding song ALL THAT MATTERS is included on the Knoxville Jazz compilation CD produced by Donald Brown, Tenors & Satin. Kelle Jolly and Will Boyd received the MLK Commission Art Award in 2015.