Big Ears Festival Returns to Knoxville in March


Some of the acts appearing at Big Ears 2022, clockwise from top left: John Medeski, Yasmin Williams, Julian Lage, Ben Lamar Gay, Maeve Gilchrist George and Claire Rousay.

(Photo: Courtesy Big Ears Festival)

Big Ears 2022 will take place live in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, March 24–27, according to festival organizers. The broad-scoped music festival has lined up more than 100 concerts in more than a dozen venues across the city.

Headlining the four-day festival this year is high punk priestess Patti Smith, but the festival also features a wide variety of jazz, new music and adventurous pop to choose from, including John Medeski, Julian Lage, Ben Lamar Gay, Odean Pope and Immanuel Wilkins. Two evenings will be dedicated to the music of John Zorn, Moses Sumney, Ken Vandermark, the Kronos Quartet and others.

The Zorn extravaganza features eight settings of the maestro’s work, offering a wide-ranging view into his Herculean outpouring of music — everything from his New Masada Quartet, Chaos Magick and Heaven And Earth to his fascinating work on Hermetic Organ, the bone-shaking Simulacrum and Songs For Petra Haden.

GEORGE, a new collaboration between percussionist John Hollenbeck, saxophonists Aurora Nealand and Anna Webber, and microtonal sound artist Chiquita Magic, debuts at the festival. Cornetist Ben LaMar Gay will perform music from his latest album, Open Arms To Open Us. Celebrated clarinetist Evan Ziporyn plays a solo program of his own compositions, as well as the world premiere of a newly discovered late-1960s piece by Philip Glass. Mind Maintenance will feature collaborators Joshua Abrams and Chad Taylor performing on the Gnawa guembri and the Zimbabwean mbira.

Two generations of Philadelphia saxophone connect when 82-year-old Odean Pope and 24-year-old Immanuel Wilkins share the stage with Danish drummer Kresten Osgood.

See the full list of artists at DB

  • 23_Brad_Mehldau_by_Elena_Olivo.jpg

    ​“Perhaps that’s a key to what makes me tick — a very strong curiosity, which makes me a perpetual fanboy of whatever I’m discovering,” Mehldau says.

  • Ahmad_Jamal_by_Michael_Jackson.jpg

    ​Ahmad Jamal (1930–2023) with his trio at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago.

    In Memoriam: Ahmad Jamal

    Pianist-composer Ahmad Jamal passed away April 16 in his home in Ashley Falls, Massachusetts, after battling prostate…

  • Wayne_shorter_by_Michael_Jackson.jpg

    “Remember to be a warrior, not a worrier,” Shorter said, 10 days prior to his passing on March 2.

  • Eric_Reed_IMG_by_Keith_Wilson.jpg

    “When I first emerged on the scene, I was dealing with working with a certain trumpet player who shall remain nameless,” Reed said. “It was very much an indoctrinating, dogmatic point of view, but it was all I knew.”

  • 23_Umbria_Piazza_IV_Novembre.jpg

    Piazza IV Novembre at the Umbria Jazz Festival, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this summer.

On Sale Now
June 2023
James Brandon Lewis
Look Inside
Print | Digital | iPad