when I was a kid we used to sneak in that back door of the old White Front just up the street from the race track. The bouncer would chase us out, but couldn't run that fast! And boy could this guy play! I remember Mel on the B3, but was listening to Wes (we'd get four or five minutes). Paul Parker was there along with Mad Hearld. Mingo Jones was on bass (might have been another guy as well). Later on I did construction work, and every now and then we got a job on Indiana Avenue. This was a two mile long strip of night clubs and dives. I remember seeing some folks that many of you know in out of the places while I was standing on a ladder (Hubbard and Slide Hampton, etc) Most of them I didn't know, and some I would later come to know in life. Heard sax players that could dominate in any club on this planet to this very day. same with piano players and bass players. Most people have no idea whatkind of jazz heritage that two or three mile square possesed! If you knew where to go, and was even luckier to know them you could go and listen to these folks jam all Sunday afternoon long. There would be folks comming and going all day long. Many were new kids wanting a break, and there was always at least one record producer there. What I wouldn't give for a chance to be over twenty one and in that era again!
I see Mingo two or three times a year these days. Dosn't play much mostly due to health. Still like to think of him as a close friend. I think the last time I saw him was at Claude Sifferlan's wake (hell of a piano player by the way). See Mel Rhyne at least once a month, but he's pretty much staying on the electronic key boards these days. But he does hit the B3 three or four times a year, and when he does he flat smokes! (still the best B3 player out there by the way). He does a couple gigs with his sister Carol each month, and she can really do some serious vocals (told Mel that when I look at her I know they couldn't have come out of the same gene pool as she's 200% better looking!). Parker has been gone for a long while, but we still speak of him from time to time. Mad Hearld is still out there, but also in ill health. I heard him play about a year ago, and he's still got it! Slide comes around a couple three times a year, but have not had the chance to catch him in a year or so. But of all of them I miss J.J. the most. I drank beer with J.J. at the same third table from the front door at the Chatterbox for several years. We'd critique the band (actually he did 98%), and I was just there learning and taking it in. The real sad thing about this post is that most all these guys were beat out of any royalties by the ever geedious recording companys.