The Roots of Memphis Music Bollard Project at FedExForum illustrates the history of jazz

Saxophonist Jimmie Lunceford was the first jazz band director in Memphis’ public school system. He formed the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra that became well known as one of the top swing-era orchestras in the country. The horn sections of swing-style jazz bands would later carry over into the Memphis-style horn sections featured prominently in soul music. 

While Memphis is best known for blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll, the city has also produced jazz pioneers, from Lunceford to Phineas Newborn, Jr. to Lil Hardin Armstrong.


All points of interest below are mapped from the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, just steps from the bollards and FedExForum.

Walk 2 minutes

Beale Street
Walk along Beale to see where jazz greats, including George Coleman, Phineas Newborn, Jr. and Charles Lloyd, cut their teeth playing amateur nights at juke joints and clubs. 
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Drive 10 minutes

LeMoyne-Owne College
Visit the campus of LeMoyne-Owen College, a historically Black institution attended by virtuoso jazz pianist Phineas Newborn, Jr. 
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Drive 11 minutes

Ardent Music
Snap a pic outside Ardent Studios, where Phineas Newborn, Jr. recorded his Grammy-nominated album “Solo Piano.”
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Drive 14 minutes

Experimental jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd was born and raised in Memphis’ historic Orange Mound neighborhood. Today in Orange Mound, visit Tone to see what Black artists of all genres are creating. 
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