Memorably mediated music immersions:
Earl King – R&B Songwriter/Guitarist
Earl’s been covered by The Meters, Motown, Professor Longhair and Robert Palmer. Here he plays Jimi Hendrix’s fusion of his “Come On Pts 1 & 2.” We spent the next hour in the Sea-Saint Studios parking lot swapping tales. Earl said, “you’re giving me so many ideas, I’ve got to go home and write some of this sh*t down!”
Allen Toussaint – Pianist/Writer/Producer
Allen Toussaint’s songs have been covered by The Rolling Stones and The Who. In this clip from my second interview with Allen, he defines “funk” and compares songwriting to fitting suits for Aaron Neville and Lee Dorsey ‘in a spiritual sense.’ He once said to me “Camera is your forte” and asked me to make his website. THERE’s 1996 deep bio DJ’ed by Johnny Harper laid bare his Rock Hall of Fame credentials. He was in by 1998.
4:15 (Yoshi’s, Berkeley, CA – 6/96)
Will Bernard – Jazz Guitarist/Bandleader
Will Bernard has earned Grammy noms both solo and with T.J. Kirk. He jams widely with John Modeski, Robert Walter and Stanton Moore. Will insisted I throw some producer dance moves (like Jerry Wexler on Wilson Pickett’s In The Midnight Hour) to cut the Raw Music theme song 5 years after this basement tape.
6:10 (Berkeley, CA – 10/98)
Steve Barrow – Ace Mod & Reggae Maestro
Rough Guide to Reggae author on the genre’s origin in late ’60’s Kingston recorded at his house in East London. Steve supervises Hot Pot re-issues, following his work with the Blood & Fire, Trojan and Island labels. I later caught his superb traveling B&F Sound System at The Independent in SF. An original Mod as featured in 2015’s Rats to Rudeboys. Respect!
3:31 (Forest Gate, UK – 12/98)
Jerry Wexler – Coined “R&B”
Jerry saw Jazz Age shows in Harlem as a kid and later comprised one third of Atlantic Records. Known for getting the best out of Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and Ray Charles, the then-nonagenerian describes music in the long view. His method: getting players to play “truthfully, in time, in tune, simply and with a deep blues feeling.”
5:14 (Miami, FL – 7/97)