Harold Mabern: Blessed
AAJ: As far as you can tell, what was the source of that persecution and why has he been so overlooked?
HM: Jealousy, pure and simple. But thank God that people like Ahmad Jamal love and respect him. Tommy Flanagan loved and respected him. Hank Jones loves and respects him. Every day I get a tear in my eye when I think about how they dogged him. So I'm spending the rest of my life trying to dedicate my music to Phineas because he deserved much better than he got. And he was such a good person. I never heard Phineas put down anybody. Never. But they dogged him. So he just went on back to Memphis, heartbroken, sat on the porch and died. That's it.
I always say, "God don't owe me a thing but you do, [and I'm] talking about the system. When I look at my bank statement, based on the time, blood, sweat and tears that I've put into it, I've come up a little short. But other than that I've been very blessed to be able to play this music and play with some great people.
Harold Mabern, Straight Street (Columbia, 1989)
Harold Mabern, Joy Spring (Sackville, 1984)
Lee Morgan, Live at the Lighthouse (Blue Note, 1970)
Hank Mobley, Dippin' (Blue Note, 1965)
Art Farmer/Benny Golson Jazztet, Here and Now (Mercury, 1962)
Walter Perkins, MJT +3 (Veejay-Koch, 1959)
Top Photo: Fran Kaufman
Bottom Photo: John Spragens, Jr.