Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Big Ears Festival Announces First Round of 2020 Performers

Anthony Braxton, Jason Moran, and Shabaka Hutchings will be among the jazz artists spotlighted at the Tennessee fest in March

Anthony Braxton Other Minds
Anthony Braxton

The Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, will return for its 11th installment during the four-day weekend of March 26-29, 2020, and based on the first round of performer announcements that were made today (Oct. 8), it will present a typically diverse and unusual range of music. Not all of that music can be even loosely considered jazz, but a good percentage of it can. Among the highlights:

• Braxton75: This celebration of composer/saxophonist Anthony Braxton’s 75th year will feature a rare solo performance, his Diamond Curtain Wall Trio, and the world premiere of the Thunder Music Ensemble.

• Jason Moran & the Harlem Hellfighters: Pianist/composer Moran will lead a large ensemble in tribute to the ragtime innovator James Reese Europe.

• Peter Brötzmann and Andrew Cyrille: Two free-jazz legends will team up once again in celebration of Brötzmann’s Big Ears debut.

• Shabaka and the Ancestors: The British saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings returns to Knoxville, this time with his group that focuses on the links between jazz and traditional African and Caribbean music.

Other jazz artists slated to perform at Big Ears in 2020 include Jaimie Branch, Myra Melford, Jeff Parker, and Dan Weiss. They will join a larger lineup that features famed minimalist composer Terry Riley (celebrating his 85th birthday), Meredith Monk with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones in a duo with Finnish cellist Anssi Karttunen, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, and many more.

Tickets for Big Ears 2020 will be available beginning Thursday, October 10, at 12 noon Eastern time. For further information and ticketing, go to