Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership hosted an unveiling ceremony on Friday for an historic marker recognizing Wartrace native Jimmy Cleveland, a jazz trombonist who performed on his own and in support of jazz greats like Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Maynard Ferguson, Quincy Jones, Gene Krupa, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Lalo Schifrin, and Dinah Washington, as well as soul icon James Brown. Cleveland was born in Wartrace in 1926 and died in 2008 in California.
The marker was erected on the Wartrace railroad square as part of the Tennessee Department Of Tourist Development’s Tennessee Music Pathways program. The tourism department is placing markers in all 95 Tennessee counties recognizing groundbreaking musical artists. Ashley DeRossett of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development represented the state at the event and unveiled the plaque.
“For him to be from Wartrace is a source of pride for all of us,” said Bedford County Mayor Chad Graham, who spoke at the ceremony.
Organizers were delighted with the attendance of numerous relatives of Cleveland’s from the area, who described him as funny and generous and said he visited Middle Tennessee from time to time to see family in Wartrace and Manchester. One speaker, a niece of Cleveland’s, described her father, Cleveland’s brother, beaming with pride as he saw Cleveland performing on “The Merv Griffin Show.”
For more information about the Tennessee Music Pathways program, go to https://www.tnmusicpathways.com.