Rocky Wynder, one of the cornerstones of Knoxville's jazz community, died last week. He was 83 or 84; the cause of death is unknown.
Wynder was born in Florida and started playing in touring jazz bands in his teens. In 1950, one of those bands came to Knoxville. When the manager skipped out with all the money, Wynder decided to stay. He got a job at TVA and continued playing jazz, R&B, and even a little bit of rock 'n' roll at local nightclubs. It was there he met Bill Scarlett, another legendary Knoxville sax player; the two had a partnership and friendship that lasted more than 50 years.
In 2010, Wynder released his first and only solo recording, Edwin & Catherine. The disc features an all-star team of local jazz talent: Donald Brown, Keith Brown, Rusty Holloway, and Mark Boling. In his profile of Wynder from 2010, Mike Gibson described the album as "one of the most beautiful and accomplished local releases in recent memory, the sterling accompaniment still leaving ample space to showcase Wynder's lush, lovely style."