All things mu­sic in Mem­phis cel­e­brated

> Spe­cial week aims to bring busi­ness, art sides to­gether

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - Music - By Mark Jor­dan

Spe­cial to The Com­mer­cial Ap­peal

On Satur­day, the Mem­phis Mu­sic Foun­da­tion kicks off its first Mem­phis Mu­sic Week, a cel­e­bra­tion of lo­cal mu­sic and artists in all their dif­fer­ent forms.

“What we’re at­tempt­ing to do with this is cause the com­mu­nity in gen­eral and the busi­ness com­mu­nity specif­i­cally to ap­pre­ci­ate that we can use our mu­sic to be­come ... a cat­a­lyst for eco­nomic empowerment,” says Al Bell, for­mer Stax head and newly ap­pointed chair­man of the non­profit foun­da­tion. “Dur­ing Mem­phis Mu­sic Week, we hope to bring busi­nesses and the art side of Mem­phis to­gether and cause them to do things that re­flect, pro­mote and high­light our mu­sic.”

Run­ning through next Satur­day, the cam­paign con­sists of more than 18 events city­wide — in­clud­ing pre­vi­ously es­tab­lished events like the Mem­phis Pops Fes­ti­val and the RiverArt­sFest — that are be­ing branded un­der the Mem­phis Mu­sic Week ban­ner. To be in­cluded, events had only to fea­ture lo­cal artists and be open to the pub­lic for $15 or less. How­ever, some com­pa­nies and or­ga­ni­za­tions, like Pin­na­cle Air­lines, which is throw­ing a hangar party for its em­ploy­ees with Mem­phis pop-and-soul singer Ryan Peel, have jumped on board with their own pri­vate events as well.

“The idea is to just get

peo­ple think­ing about Mem­phis mu­sic and in­ter­act­ing with it,” says the foun­da­tion’s di­rec­tor of de­vel­op­ment, Pat Mitchell Worley, a key or­ga­nizer of the ef­fort. “If for this one week we can just get peo­ple to see the in­cred­i­ble di­ver­sity and qual­ity of mu­sic that is be­ing pro­duced right here un­der their noses, maybe that will carry over be­yond the week.”

In ad­di­tion to the con­certs, the Mu­sic Foun­da­tion has teamed with the arts Web site livefrommem­ to pro­duce the sec­ond in a se­ries of lo­cal mu­sic com­pi­la­tions, a 27-song down­load fea­tur­ing tracks from Amy LaVere, Al Kapone and City Champs, among oth­ers. The com­pi­la­tion will be avail­able for down­load start­ing to­day at livefrommem­ Par­tic­i­pat­ing com­pa­nies will give out down­load cards to their em­ploy­ees or cus­tomers.

Also part of the ef­fort, the Uni­ver­sity of Mem­phis’ jazz ra­dio sta­tion, WUMR FM 91.7, is play­ing mu­sic by Mem­phis artists through­out the week.

“My goals are fairly sim­ple for this week,” says Bell. “One is to have par­tic­i­pa­tion from the com­mu­nity at large. The other is, as a re­sult of that par­tic­i­pa­tion, to have peo­ple talk­ing pos­i­tively about their home­grown mu­sic.”

Bran­don Dill/Spe­cial to The Com­mer­cial Ap­peal

As part of Mem­phis Mu­sic Week, Lil Rounds will sing the na­tional an­them at the Griz­zlies’ home opener Wed­nes­day.

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