The sounds of brass instruments have filled the air in Downtown Dickson, matching the increase in people going out around the county.
The 19 members of local favorite band Highland Jazz Machine have performed shows at Holland Park in the spring and summer with more planned for the fall, including Dickson County’s Old Timers Day festival. And, the public is ready for it, said longtime band member Tommy Edwards.
“People are eager to get out and hear something,” said Edwards, while noting they particularly enjoy live jazz music. Those jazz sounds come from the Machine’s ensemble of trumpets, trombones, saxophones, guitar, drums and accordion, among other instruments.
“We are ready to get back getting on,” Edwards said.
The band’s musicians have a variety of backgrounds, including Hollie Farris, a trumpeter and former band leader for the James Brown Band from 1975 to Brown’s death in 2006.
Wayne Marsh, another of the Highland Jazz Machine’s trumpeters, told the Herald in a 2015 interview that despite the band’s varying backgrounds, “we have one thing in common – we all get along and we’re interested in playing jazz music.”
“We’re doing this for the love of music and the love of playing music and just enjoy playing together,” Marsh said. “We do all have the passion to play.”
The band practices every Tuesday at Events on Main and plays at various charity events and private functions. Edwards said the band drew about 180 people to Holland Park in Dickson, and they will continue to play in public spaces to “give back to the people of Dickson.”
The band, which plays various jazz tunes and golden oldies, evolved from The Renaissance Center’s former concert and jazz band. This was prior to Freed Hardeman University moving into Dickson’s Renaissance Center nearly a decade ago.
The group used to practice and play at St. James Episcopal Church in Downtown Dickson, Edwards said.
The group initially formed as the Dickson Jazz Ensemble, but later changed their name to Highland Jazz Machine. Many of the musicians live in Dickson, but some live throughout Middle Tennessee.
“We started thinking about what to call the band, and all kinds of names were thrown around,” Marsh told the Herald in 2015, “but Highland came from the Highland Rim, because we’re covering the Middle Tennessee area.”
Marsh explained the number of band members varies depending on people’s schedules, because most of them have other occupations, including minister, doctor and retired teacher.
For more information about the Highland Jazz Machine, go online to the group’s Facebook page.
Highland Jazz Machine members
The Highland Jazz Machine band members include:
Tommy Edwards- Accordion
Leo Cantu- Drums
Pat Reaves- Clarinet
Mark Featherston – Alto Sax
Marty Moore- Tenor Sax
Marty York- Trombone
Hollie Farris- Trumpet
Kenny Naselroad- Trumpet
Kim Cantu- Vocals
Wayne Marsh- Trumpet
Jere Hooper- Trombone
John Mansfield- Bass
Sabrina Mansfield- Piano
Tom McGinley- Bari Sax
Alyssa Nielsen- Alto Sax
Chad Corgan- Guitar
Darin Cochran- Trombone
Evan O’Neal- Tenor Sax