Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Music on the Square and a Buzz in the Air

Rodney Alexander lays down the jazz, Market Square, Knoxville
The music was a little different on Market Square on a recent evening. I followed the sounds from Union Avenue nearly to Wall Avenue before I found the trio cranking out the tunes. What I found was Rodney Alexander who I've mentioned in a previous post playing his saxophone, laying down his cool jazz licks. Joining him was a conga player and a bass player with an amplified electric bass. I enjoyed what they were doing, but I had mixed feelings.

A saxophone is a loud instrument. It's enough to send other buskers packing up, which is exactly what I saw Bill doing in front of Cafe Four. This was compounded by the electrification which is now possible all over the square thanks to the new electrical outlets which were installed this past spring. I've heard one other band as I've walked through the square that utilized the amplification and I had doubts about the idea from the beginning.


Rodney Alexander and the No Name Band (he told me to say that)

It's nice to hear music on the square. Usually the volume generated allows for moving into the vibrations if you like or out of range, if you prefer. It's easy to drift from one busker to another and listen a little to each as you go - and, of course, drop a dollar or two along the way.

But what if more players, singers and bands utilize the amplification possibilities provided? What about boom boxes such as the ones already being used by the hula hoop contingent? Will all this volume add to or detract from the ambiance? Rodney is good, but what if the amplified musicians are simply not-ready-for-prime-time, but think they are?


Rodney Alexander, Band and Naked Christmas Tree on Market Square, Knoxville

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