If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.
You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...
As a 2012 recipient of a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement, Jaimoe needs no introduction. He has been a beloved figure on the music scene for over four decades, as a veteran of the R&B circuit with Otis Redding, Percy Sledge and Joe Tex, and as a founding member of the legendary Allman Brothers Band and the critically acclaimed band Sea Level.
In late 2011 his Jaimoe's Jasssz Band released Renaissance Man (Lil'Johnieboy Records, 2011), an album that is generating well-deserved praise and a lot of buzz. Out front is Junior Mack on vocals and guitar, slide, and dobro, with Paul Lieberman on saxophones and flute, Kris Jensen on saxophones, Reggie Pittman on trumpet and flugelhorn, Dave Stolz on bass, Bruce Katz on Hammond B3 and piano, and, of course, Jaimoe on drums. There is great chemistry and an abundance of talent, and with Jaimoe's musical instincts, the future looks very bright for this band.
Keyboardist Chuck Leavell and now singer/keyboardist Gregg Allman have written biographies, and after an hour of candid conversation with Jaimoe, there's no doubt he could produce a page-turner as well. Amazing stories intertwined with his infectious laughter, what a treat it was to speak with Jaimoe.
All About Jazz: Congratulations on Renaissance Man, this CD was a long time coming, but well worth the wait. It struck me, your band is almost like two bands in one: a jazz band, but when you add Junior Mack to the mix, you also get a blues band with a solid horn section.
Jaimoe: Thank you. Actually, a lot of people had these kinds of bands before, but if you don't tell people something, they'll pretty much go along with what it is. The fact is, jazz is American music. So anything that a musician plays who's coming out of here, it's jazz. It may have originated in Germany, Sweden, Japan or elsewhere, but this is now part of us, and this was developed here. That's what it is, it's improvised music, it's jazz.
AAJ: . Lots of bands would be lucky to have a guitarist with Junior Mack's chops, and most bands would be lucky to have a singer with Junior Mack's voicehe's amazing, you've got the whole package in one, and if that weren't enough, he's writing great songs, like, "Drifting and Turning."
Jaimoe: He's a great musician and a great entertainer, and like you said, he's got the whole package: he plays the guitar, he sings, he writes songs, and he's a businessman. He was a computer specialist for 25 years, and worked for a big computer company troubleshooting, and they laid him off. So he began concentrating on his music, and played what he wanted to.
He ended up never going back. When they tried to call him back in, he didn't do it, and instead he became a fulltime musician.
I met him through a friend of mine named [Hewell] "Chank" Middleton, I've known him since he was 17 years old. We met in Macon when I first moved there in 1968. He kept telling me about Junior Mack. He said, " You don't know Junior Mack!? Frown [Jaimoe's nickname] you gotta meet Junior Mack!"
So one night before I went to the Beacon we met and I said, "Man you got anything I can listen to?" And he handed me this CD, he had it right in his pocket. It was Junior with Dave Stolz, the bassist in our band, and Kris Jensen, our saxophonist, and Dickey Betts. Those guys along with Mark Greenberg, one of Dickey's drummers, and Matt Zeiner his keyboard player, did a gig with Junior and recorded it.
So anyway, I called him up one day and said, "Hey man, I finally listened to your CD. Would you be interested in playing a gig?" Junior said he wasn't too busy, so I called this guy who owns a restaurant called the Double Down Grill in Avon, Connecticut and told him I wanted to do a dress rehearsal. But really it was just a rehearsal, I just wanted to play. I told him he could tell people, it's not going to cost you anything, and you can stay if you want toyou know, I didn't want to interfere with his business.
So I thought, in between the Super Bowl and the last official football game of the season would be the time to do it. We recorded that and put it out as a CD, and I think that's the best thing we've recorded.
AAJ: So that was from the first time playing together, almost like a jam session?
Jaimoe: The first time we ever played together. So there's Live at the Double Down in Avon, and another CD that's a recording of an Ed Blackwell Memorial Concert at Middleton. It's pretty good and the most different thing I've ever done.
AAJ: Ed Blackwell, wasn't he a kind of free-style jazz drummer?
Jaimoe: Yeah, from New Orleans.
AAJ: I've been lovin' the Renaissance Man CD, but I've been mistakenly telling people I think it's one of the best debut CDs I've heard in quite a while.
Jaimoe: Well, Junior and some other people think if your don't make an album in a studio, it's not legitimate.
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock. It was love at first sight . This was when Blues, Soul / Gospel Style Music was becoming popular amongst kids as well as hip adults and featured Ray Charles, Big Joe Turner and The Payola era DJ's such as Alan Freed. Not many people remember that Freed's Rock n Roll Band of the 1950's was The Count Basie Orchestra featuring the Guy Singer Tony Bennett (Anthony DiBenedetto) who grew up in Astoria, NYNY right next to my Home Town Jackson Heights NYNY.
I was first exposed to jazz when I heard Red Prysock, Sam The Man Taylor & groups like the Chord Cats recording of Shaboom! It made the Crew Cuts look LAME! Now Jazz, Blues, Soul, Gospel was pretty much joined at the hip back then and I learned that the tasteful Music was featured on The African American Radio Stations which led me to DJ's Like The Bruce, Jocko Henderson, Tommy Dr. Jive Smalls and eventually Symphony Sid Torin, China Valles and Len Pace. This all took place during my high school years and the following years in NYNY and South Florida. I actually flew to Copenhagen Denmark in 1961 to see Stan Getz, (One of my top 3 heroes in the Music Bird, Pres & Getz not necessarily in that order). Sadly Getz had already left town and snuck back into NYNY where he played Birdland (Undoubtedly without a cabaret card due to smack addiction.) No problem for me as I worked for Pan American Airways at the time and enjoyed a 90% Employee Discount.
I met Thelonious Monk, Stan Kenton, Warne Marsh, Lenny Tristano, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Dr. Lonnie Smith, among many others over the years.
The best show I ever attended was The Randall's Island Jazz Festival NYNY 1960. Monk & Edward Ellington Kennedy AKA Duke, starred among numerous others. I can not recall the entire Line Up but Monk brought along his Hat Collection which at the time contained I believe he told me 33 or 35 international Hats which he periodically changed often during his Solos. I have been unable to find that roster for that particular festival and since it was long ago I remember mostly Monk & Duke. Paul Gonsalvas played his legendary trademark twenty something chorus solo in between Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue which was outstanding.
The first jazz record I bought was Firstly, my Bro George was / is a Marine and he sent home his wax collection of LP's from Camp Pendleton CA before deploying to Okinawa in 1956 I think. Bird, Getz, Mulligan & Baker, Erroll Garner, Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Jazz at Newport 1956 and many more. I fell in love with Bird, Getz and Jeru & Chet for openers. Pres to my mind takes the all time Tenor Award and Budo, Piano etc.! However I digress Getz Long Island Sound and every other Getz record that I could find that was 1957 by then and I snuck in to Birdland for the First of many times before I was 18 ( Legal drinking age back then) It wasn't until just after my 18th Birthday that I was carded much to the bouncers chagrin as he recognized me as having being an established customer by then.
My advice to new listeners: Listen to the Music and keep it in the forefront not the background. A Local Band Leader whose name escapes me once said to me Jerry you can make time for the chicks later the Music is in the now and is more important than chicks ever will be. He was correct!
Next see live performances and introduce yourself to the Players most of whom will be respectful. Some, however, are unapproachable such as when I saw Miles so many times but his obvious disdain for certain fans was evident and he always walked off the stage after soloing. (Eddie Jefferson sang words to So What that so indicated this)!