2018 Performers

Vocalist Kelle Jolly, “The Tennessee Ukulele Lady”, is one of East Tennessee’s most celebrated jazz musicians. She and her husband, saxophonist Will Boyd, were the 2015 MLK Art Award recipients in Knoxville. She is the founder of Ukesphere of Knoxville, a ukulele group for all ages. As an ambassador of jazz, she has traveled to Muroran, Japan as Knoxville’s Sister City representative at various jazz festivals and events. Kelle is the host of Knoxville’s newest radio show on WUOT 91.9FM (www.wuot.org), Jazz Jam with Kelle Jolly, an hour-long show that celebrates great local, national and international singers of jazz. She is also the founder of the Women in Jazz Jam Festival (www.womeninjazzjamfestival.com). ​


Diane Monroe is more than simply a fine performer. She is a violinist whose versatility and expressive artistry consistently bring audiences to their feet. Her visibility as a jazz artist began with her long-standing membership as first violinist of the Uptown String Quartet (with Lesa Terry, Maxine Roach and Eileen Folson) and the Max Roach Double Quartet. With those ensembles, she performed with Cecil Bridgewater,Trumpeter; Odean Pope, Saxophonist and Tyrone Brown, bassist, and has recorded on the Soul Note, Philips/Polygram, and Mesa/Bluemoon labels.

In addition to her contributions as a side-person, Monroe has been leading her own ensembles for more than 15 years.  The Diane Monroe Quartet appeared on the Kennedy Center’s Women in Jazz Festival in 2012 and has performed at many other venues. She has developed a program for her sextet – “What Is This Thing Called Freedom” – that features vocalist Paul Jost and her longtime musical partner, vibraphonist Tony Miceli. She and Miceli released their debut recording, Alone Together (Dreambox Media), in August 2014. All About Jazz sums up the recording: “Monroe and Miceli are adept and resilient musicians of the highest caliber, so they are able to weave their combined sounds into many expressive variations that create “tone poems” and tell stories.”

Monroe is in demand as an educator, panel specialist and leader of jazz improv workshops, rhythm clinics and master classes. The Verbier Festival Switzerland 2000, highlighted her summer as soloist/conductor of the Fiddlefest Jazz String Orchestra. During this festival, Monroe conducted the string orchestra students in a spontaneous collaboration with the violinist Kennedy, in a blues medley. In 2007, Monroe conducted the jazz string section for the Saxophonist James Carter with his quartet, in a presentation at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall entitled, “Gardenia’s for Lady Day.” At last season’s ASTA conference, she chaired a panel, “Improvised music in the classroom,” which included distinguished composer/pedagogue, David Baker.

Photos below by DAJE MORRIS

Bryn Davies is a multi-instrumentalist originally from Livermore, Ca. She has an extensive discography, playing on records with legends such as Jack White, Guy Clark, The Peter Rowan & Tony Rice Quartet, Old and In The Gray, and Don Edwards. Bryn has toured with such luminaries as Patty Griffin, Jack White, The Tony Rice Unit, Darrell Scott, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, Jim Lauderdale and Shawn Camp (just to name a few). Bryn currently tours with Scott Miller and Darrell Scott, and is pursuing an undergrad in engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Bryn plays D’Addario strings.

Francesca was born and raised in Firenze, Italy, and is an Italian Lecturer at UT. She started singing Jazz in Italy in the 90’s. Once moved to the USA, she studied and performed with Ron Elliston and Ronnie Wells in Washington, DC in the early 2000’s and had the chance to study for a short time with Patty and Jerry Coker as well as with Donald Brown here in Knoxville, TN. She also took lessons from Mark Boling and has had opportunities to sing with Emily Mathis on several occasions between 2010 and 2015. Last year Francesca participated in the WJJF behind the scenes, but this year she is excited to be able to perform with the WJJF band.



Missc Brown been acting, singing and dancing since she was 12. She has acted in plays in Knoxville, Atlanta and Chicago.





Anna Helms is a jazz saxophone student at UT Knoxville, studying with Greg Tardy and Donald Brown. She gigs frequently in and around Knoxville, both with the Anna Helms Quartet and with other groups.



Faith Harris has always had the heart for music. Although drummimg was her first instrument of choice, she loves being a pianst and singer as well. She was involved with the Knoxville Youth Jazz Orchestra for two years and looks forward to playing with amazing musicians in the future.





Ruth Johnson is a saxophonist from Knoxville, TN. She performs on alto, tenor, and bari in multiple local projects and community bands. She is a member of Katy Free and the New Fashions, and recently began performing with the Ensemble Swing Time, a local big band.



Kerry Morrison a single reed woodwind player who performs regularly in the Knoxville area. She has played for several musical theatre productions, is a member of the Knoxville Community Band, and recently started a new project with Katy Free & The New Fashions as their lead clarinet and alto saxophonist.



Jeanine Fuller is a Brooklyn, New Yorker turned Tennesseean, versatile vocalist of Soul,Blues,Jazz,Funk & Rock. Past credits include: touring internationally in various theatre and music shows,session vocalist and working with the reknowned grammy jazz artist,Dianne Reeves. Leader/ front woman of her own music projects,including Jeanine Fuller and The Boyz and a featured vocalist in several groups in the surrounding areas of Knoxville. She is also a strong advocate of Women Empowerment & Women’s Rights. This is her third year participating in the Women in Jazz Jam Festival.



Jeannie Bowers is a jazz flute-loving amateur who has played with various jazz, R&B, oldies, church, and community groups. She is always up for a jam!



Deidre Ford is the director for the Ensemble Swing Time, a 17-piece big band from Knoxville. She is a vocalist with an interest in multiple styles as well as a woodwind specialist and plays clarinets, saxes, and flute. She performs with diverse local groups, ranging from the rock and R&B sounds of the Original Soul Sanction and the Deltas, to the quirky chamber music of the Dancing Bears bass clarinet quartet, to pit orchestra work in local musical theater productions.


Maria Williams loves making music. She’s been performing in the Knoxville area for nearly two decades, working with her friends to create new songs and new sounds. This will be her third year at the Women in Jazz Jam Festival.




Kukuly Uriarte plays swing in Knoxville with her band.



Harold Nagge teaches various styles of guitar, including Jazz, Classical, Fingerstyle, Flatpick. He holds a Master’s degree in Jazz Guitar Performance from the University of Tennessee, where he studied with Jerry Coker, Donald Brown, Mark Boling, and Rusty Holloway. He is an active performer in the area, in solo and various group settings.  He has performed with The Symphony of the Mountains under Cornelia Laemmli,  Barter Theatre,  the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, and Oak Ridge Symphony.