Oh man. The ole ears are still ringing from last night’s musical juggernaut.
It started at Hal &
Mal’s with 2 sets of tight, blistering jazz from James McBride and his band.
We had a great crowd and the band was not only good musically, but also a group
of very personable people that were a pleasure to talk to. I didn’t run into
a single person at the show that was not having a blast.
Allison and Elizabeth came up to share in the fun and we had a good time sitting
around rapping. Allison ordered the meatless, blackbean tamales for dinner,
which I’d never tried. They were exceptionally tasty and I would highly recommend
them if you’re dining at Hal & Mals.
During the course of the show Allison introduced me to Susan Margaret and her
boyfriend, Scott. Scott is a highly accomplished harmonica player (check out
his website here)
that has just recently relocated to Jackson from Washington DC. He sat in on
harp for my favorite Jame’s McBride song ‘French Girls in New York’ which completely
blew away the crowd, largely due to the incredible calisthenics displayed by
the trombone player.
After the show I had a great talk with Scott on the music theory of harmonicas.
He teaches harmonica lessons when he can find students so he was able to dumb
it down for me very well. Once everything began winding down at Hal & Mals
everybody seemed to all be agreeing to head over to the 930
Blues Cafe next. I ran into Hollie outside Martin’s and got her to come
930 was really hopping. The house band was tearing through some blues standards,
and was later joined by Jackson guitar legend King Edward for a couple of numbers.
Scott got up and played as well. Jackie Bell, the sultry, 6’2″ songstress
was in true form. Rail-thin and sporting a sheer, black, one piece body suit
she prowled the stage like a cat. It is incredible to hear such a petite frame
produce the thunderstorm that is her voice. As she went through her songs, including
a great version of ‘Wang Dang Doodle’ I could feel her voice reverberate all
the way down to the tips of my toes.
While at 930 I had the chance to meet T.C. Perkins, Jr. who has been photographing
in the Jackson area for the last 30 years. We didn’t get a chance to talk much
because the music was so loud, but he seems to have a strong focus in blues
photography and was going to Greenville this weekend to shoot the Delta Blues
Festival. We’re going to try to get together for the party at 930 celebrating
the release of PBS’s Blue’s series, which I’ll detail more about soon and every
blues fan in the Jackson area should try to attend.
The 930 band closed down with a stirring rendition of Hendrix’s ‘Voodoo Child’
at around 2 am. Elizabeth was nice enough to let me crash her couch and as I
lay there, unable to sleep because of the heavy ringing in my ears I had to
give Jackson mad props for providing such a great evening of conversation, new
friends, and wonderful music.
PS – I’ve got an evening’s worth of pictures that will be up soon.
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