Prince Lasha's Inside-Outside Story
AAJ: You mentioned earlier Charles Moffett and Charnett; did you have much contact with the Moffett kids as they were coming up?
PL: They were in the lovely home of MacArthur Avenue, right off the freeway. I have a lovely photo of Charnett when he was studying bass and he was playing a quarter bass. I'm playing soprano, and Charles and his son Codaryl are playing drums. I used to do that all the time with then, and he always had his sons playing at different religious places. And then I had [Charles] Moffett playing with me on gigs too, and he had a school too. He and I both taught at the Unified School District in Berkeley for a few years, and we had that trombone player who plays seashells and was in the Saturday Night Live band. So we taught at Odyssey, this school for kids who couldn't get along with their parents we taught music there.
Charnett and I rehearsed for hours, and my mother would come to visit me from Texas and say "you gotta quit that because you're gonna kill that little boy. We kept on going and later on I came to New York with Ornette and went to the Ladies' Fort, and the whole family was playing there.
AAJ: Your kids are about the same age as the Moffett kids, right? Did they play together?
PL: They were a little older. I played with the Moffett family, continued to play with them over the years. That's why I recorded with Charnett, because he told me "I've found the missing link; it took me a while, but I found it, and he was referring to that photo of him and me [Prince had spoken of a photo of the young Charnett on a quarter-size bass standing next to Lasha]. I was really glad to have played with so many great bass players.
AAJ: As far as your sons playing music, could you go through and tell me their names and what they play?
PL: Well, there's one son who has the same name as me, and he plays the drums, and all he did was rehearse with Odean Pope and [Cecil] Bridgewater, and he rehearsed with Max Roach for twenty years. That's why he came here and did a gig to raise money for Max, who isn't very well. Bridgewater is his close friend, and Odean is mine, and he worked with me and Woody Shaw in Europe and California. Anthony Lasha plays flute, and there's William Lasha in Texas, who plays drums and reminds me of Philly Joe Jones.
The Moffetts have a trumpet player, Mondre, and he's the oldest of the boys. He played with me and my son a bit, with Carl J. C. Garrett on tenor. We're going to record my composition "Mandela, Martin and Malcolm together [Lasha pauses to play it on baritone].
AAJ: Did you teach your sons?
PL: Yes, my whole family, brothers and everything. See, I'm older than dirt! That takes me back to Buster Smith, Red Garland and Fathead Newman, back when Ray Charles was learning how to play, and Andy Kirk and the Clouds of Joy. I've already visited King Tut, and now I'm back for another round!
Prince Lasha/Odean Pope, The Mystery of Prince Lasha (CIMP, 2005)
Dennis Gonzalez and Prince Lasha, Witness (Daagnim, 1983)
Prince Lasha and Weber Armstrong, And Now Music (Daagnim, 1983)
Prince Lasha, Firebirds Live (Birdseye, 1974)
Prince Lasha/Sonny Simmons, Firebirds (Contemporary-OJC, 1967)
Prince Lasha, Insight (CBS, 1966)
Prince Lasha, Inside Story (Enja-Inner City, 1965)
Eric Dolphy, Conversations (FM-Fresh Sound, 1963)
Elvin Jones/Jimmy Garrison Sextet, Illumination (Impulse!, 1963)
Prince Lasha/Sonny Simmons, The Cry! (Contemporary-OJC, 1962)
Related Article: Encore: Prince Lasha (2004)