Main Street JazzFest Returns to Square for Two Days of Jazz May 5–6 Featuring Valerie Gillespie, Lao Tizer and Lots of Local Music Students

The 2017 Main Street Jazz Fest presented by Redstone Federal Credit Union features Valerie Gillespie, The Lao Tizer Band, First Fruit Jazz Project, 129th Army Band and local talent including MTSU Jazz Faculty, MTSU Jazz Ensemble I and Ethos Jazz Band.

“Main Street JazzFest is 21 years in the making, and the 2017 event will feature high-energy artists from both coasts, all in the beautiful, historic setting of downtown Murfreesboro,” Main Street Murfreesboro Executive Director Kathleen Herzog said.

Valerie Gillespie is a saxophonist who shares a dedication to preserving live jazz music and performs several styles that range from instrumental to vocal jazz.

Gillespie is an adjunct faculty member at the University of South Florida in Tampa and performs frequently in the Tampa Bay area and at many jazz festivals as well. Gillespie recently had the honor of being the featured artist in Saxophone Today magazine. She has performed on numerous albums, playing flutes and clarinet, and providing vocals, in addition to saxophone. Her most recent CD is entitled Lush Life and includes music by Chick Corea and Billy Strayhorn.

Lao Tizer Band

Lao Tizer Band


Keyboardist Lao Tizer is a Boulder, Colo., native, and his style is influenced by a mix of jazz, rock and classical musics along with Afro-Cuban and world rhythm.

This year’s JazzFest again welcomes the 129th Army Band, and will feature Rutherford County-based First Fruit Jazz Project on the main stage.

First Fruit Jazz Project is a unique blend of jazz, funk and improvisational rock. Keyboardist Mark Cherry felt that, while traditional gospel hymns were rich in their lyrical content, the melodies and chords accompanying them were sometimes unable to match the emotion the lyrics evoked. Jazz-based arrangements were needed! Over time, Cherry re-arranged many traditional hymns into compositions he felt would emphasize the true passion of their lyrics and bring a fresh energy. Bassist David Cox, drummer Mike Hunter and saxophonist Alan Cannady join him in the First Fruit Jazz Project as the group continues to evolve and take new paths, creating a fresh listening experience with each performance.

First Fruit Jazz Project

First Fruit Jazz Project


The weekend will include performances from area high school and middle school bands. And in addition to lots of live jazz, other features include the Kids Alley, which will feature inflatables and other children’s activities, along with numerous food vendors.

“JazzFest is great fun for the entire family,” Herzog added.

For more on the 2017 Main Street JazzFest presented by Redstone Federal Credit Union, visit mainstreetjazzfest.net.

2017 Main Street JazzFest schedule:

Friday, May 5
6 p.m. – Siegel High School Lab Jazz Band
6:40 p.m. – Riverdale High School Jazz Band
7:20 p.m. – Oakland High School Jazz Band
8 p.m. – Blackman High School Jazz Band
8:40 p.m. – Smyrna High School Jazz Band
9:20 p.m. – La Vergne High School Jazz Band
10 p.m. – Central Jazz Band
10:40 p.m. – Siegel High School Jazz Band

Saturday, May 6
11 a.m. – Rockvale Middle School
11:30 a.m. – Stewart’s Creek Middle School
12 p.m. – Seymour High School Jazz Band
12:45 p.m. – Ethos Jazz Band
2 p.m. – MTSU Jazz Ensemble #1
3:15 p.m. – 129th Army Band
4:30 p.m. – MTSU Jazz Faculty
5:45 p.m. – First Fruit Jazz Project
7 p.m. – The Lao Tizer Band
8:30 p.m. – Valerie Gillespie


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The Murfreesboro Pulse: Middle Tennessee’s Source for Art, Entertainment and Culture News.

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