Mellow Cigars and Mellow Music at Memphis’ Havana Mix Cigar Lounge

001 Memphis Music Hall of Fame002 Beale & 2nd003 Blues City Cafe004 Beale Street005 Beale Street Sunset007 Beale Street & 3rd008 An Old School Downtown009 Beale Street010 Havana Mix011 Havana Mix Band012 Havana Mix Band013 Havana Mix Band014 Havana Mix Band015 Havana Mix Band016 Havana Mix Band017 Havana Mix Band019 Havana Mix Band020 Otis Logan021 Otis Logan022 Havana Mix Band023 Havana Mix Band024 Havana Mix Band025 Havana Mix Band026 Havana Mix Band027 Havana Mix Band
The
Havana Mix in downtown Memphis is primarily a cigar lounge, but occasionally books live music, often on Friday evenings. So when my drummer friend Otis Logan told me to come down because he was playing there, I did. The band was billed as the Havana Mix Band, and did a series of neo-soul and R & B classics for the ample crowd inside. Of course, as one would expect with a cigar bar, the place is not for those who don’t enjoy plenty of smoke. But the atmosphere is elegant and refined, and the music (when they have it) is first-rate.

Havana Mix Cigar Emporium
250 Peabody Pl #105
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 522-2909

The Abandonment of Henning, Tennessee

001 Henning002 Henning003 Abandoned Mansion, Henning004 Abandoned Mansion, Henning005 Abandoned Mansion, Henning006 Juke Door, Henning007 Abandoned Juke, Henning008 Noel's Bar & Grill, Henning009 Abandoned House, Henning010 Henning011 Noel's Bar & Grill012 Henning013 Henning014 Henning015 Sir Charles' Place, Henning016 Sir Charles' Place, Henning017 Sir Charles' Place, Henning018 Sir Charles' Place, Henning019 Welcome to Henning020 Henning021 Main Street, Henning022 Poe's Bar, Henning023 Main Street, Henning024 Sonny's Smooth Jazz & Old School, Henning025 Sonny's Smooth Jazz & Old School, Henning026 Henning027 Henning028 Main Street, Henning029 Sir Charles' Place, Henning030 Sir Charles' Place, Henning
Back in the 1980’s, Henning, Tennessee became famous as the hometown of writer Alex Haley, whose genealogical novel Roots was a best-seller in the late 1970’s and which was later made into a television mini-series. A museum was opened on the Main Street of the little town just across the Forked Deer River from Tipton County, and residents of Henning waited for the tourists they hoped would be coming. They even renamed State Highway 211 “Chicken George Trail” after one of the characters in Haley’s novel.
But the tourists never arrived, and Henning seems to be in the grip of a depression, for some reason. Abandoned houses and ruins are everywhere in the little town, and many of the downtown storefronts along Main Street are vacant, or seem to be so. A block west of Main is a street lined with abandoned juke joints that were undoubtedly once full of large crowds, as Henning was a party destination for Covington, Ripley, and even Dyersburg and Brownsville. A couple of the bars seem to still be open, such as Sonny’s Smooth Jazz and Old School, or Uncle Charles’ Place, which has an elaborate painted mural that mentions Prince’s old movie Under The Cherry Moon, but the town has clearly seen better days.

Blues In The Grove At Oxford

001 Doc Prana Trio002 Doc Prana Trio004 Doc Prana Trio005 Doc Prana Trio006 Doc Prana Trio007 Doc Prana Trio008 Zediker Brothers010 Oxford Blues Fest011 Oxford Blues Fest012 Oxford Blues Fest013 Oxford Blues Fest014 Zediker Brothers015 Oxford Blues Fest016 Oxford Blues Fest017 Oxford Blues Fest018 Oxford Blues Fest019 Oxford Blues Fest020 Zediker Brothers021 Zediker Brothers022 Oxford Blues Fest023 Oxford Blues Fest025 Bobby Ray Watson026 Bobby Ray Watson027 Bobby Ray Watson028 Bobby Ray Watson029 Bobby Ray Watson030 Bobby Ray Watson032 Bobby Ray Watson033 Oxford Blues Fest034 Bobby Ray Watson035 Sherena038 Bobby Ray Watson039 Oxford Blues Fest040 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones041 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones042 Joyce Jones043 Joyce Jones044 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones045 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones046 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones047 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones048 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones049 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones050 Joyce Jones051 Bobby Ray Watson052 Sherena053 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones054 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones056 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones057 Oxford Blues Fest058 Bobby Ray Watson059 Oxford Blues Fest061 Cadillac Funk062 Cadillac Funk063 Cadillac Funk064 Cadillac Funk065 Cadillac Funk066 Cadillac Funk067 Cadillac Funk068 Cadillac Funk069 Cadillac Funk070 Cadillac Funk071 Cadillac Funk072 Cadillac Funk073 Cadillac Funk074 Cadillac Funk075 Cadillac Funk076 Cadillac Funk077 Cadillac Funk078 Cadillac Funk079 Cadillac Funk082 Cadillac Funk & Joyce Jones083 Cadillac Funk084 Sherena Boyce085 Joyce Jones086 Sherena Boyce & Cadillac Funk087 Joyce Jones & Cadillac Funk088 Sherena & Cadillac Funk089 Sherena & Cadillac Funk091 Cadillac Funk & Sherena Boyce & Joyce Jones092 Cadillac Funk093 Cadillac Funk094 Cadillac Funk095 Como Mamas097 Como Mamas098 Como Mamas099 Como Mamas100 Como Mamas101 Como Mamas102 Como Mamas103 Oxford Blues Fest104 Oxford Blues Fest105 Puppy Love106 Puppy Love107 Blind Mississippi Morris108 Blind Mississippi Morris109 Blind Mississippi Morris110 Blind Mississippi Morris112 Oxford Blues Fest1623 Doc Prana Trio1625 Zediker Brothers1627 Oxford Blues Fest1630 Bobby Ray Watson1632 Cadillac Funk1634 Joyce Jones & Cadillac Funk1636 Sherena Boyce & Cadillac Funk1638 Como Mamas1640 Blind Mississippi Morris
The Oxford Blues Festival was not held on the Square this year, as I would have expected, but rather on the Grove on the Ole Miss campus, and a good thing, since the entire Mid-South was under a heat advisory and the sun was beating down fiercely. Perhaps as a result, when I first got there, the crowd was rather small, and that despite the fact that the festival was also free. But as the day progressed, from the jazz of Doc Prana, to the bluesy rock of the Zediker Brothers, to the folk blues of Bobby Ray Watson (who had studied with Mississippi Joe Callicott), the crowd grew steadily in numbers and enthusiasm, and ever so slowly the heat began to subside. Female blues singer Joyce Jones was in the audience, and was called up on stage by Bobby Ray Watson and by Cadillac Funk to feature on a couple of songs. Then the Como Mamas came on stage to do some a cappella gospel numbers, and the afternoon was closed out by Blind Mississippi Morris as the sun was setting. Although there was a headline act for later in the evening, the people I was with wanted to head back to the Square for dinner. Despite the outrageous heat, it was a fun day of blues in a beautiful, shady setting.

Keep up with the Oxford Blues Festival:
http://oxfordbluesfest.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oxford-Blues-Festival/149263388461540

Keep up with the Zediker Brothers:
https://www.facebook.com/TheZedikerBrothers
https://thezedikerbrothers.bandcamp.com
https://www.youtube.com/user/randomiteversion2

Keep up with Cadillac Funk:
http://www.cadillacfunk.net
https://www.facebook.com/cadillacfunkband

Keep up with the Como Mamas:
http://daptonerecords.com/comomamas/
https://www.facebook.com/thecomomamas

https://thecomomamas.bandcamp.com

Keep up with Blind Mississippi Morris:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blind-Mississippi-Morris/180262462022644
https://myspace.com/blindmississippimorris











Happy 4th Birthday to Radio Memphis

001 Radio Memphis002 Radio Memphis003 Radio Memphis004 Radio Memphis005 DJ Bay006 Radio Memphis007 Radio Memphis008 Radio Memphis009 Radio Memphis010 Radio Memphis012 Radio Memphis013 Radio Memphis014 Radio Memphis015 Radio Memphis016 Radio Memphis017 Radio Memphis018 Radio Memphis019 Radio Memphis020 Jay DaSkreet, Devin & Donnon Johnson021 Radio Memphis022 Donnon Johnson023 Mason Jar Fireflies025 Mason Jar Fireflies026 Mason Jar Fireflies028 Mason Jar Fireflies030 Mason Jar Fireflies031 Donnon Johnson033 Donnon Johnson034 Devin036 Jay DaSkreet037 Jay DaSkreet038 Jay DaSkreet040 Jay DaSkreet042 Devin043 Donnon Johnson044 Ciara Oulette045 Ciara Oulette046 Ciara Oulette047 Ciara Oulette049 Radio Memphis050 DJ Bay052 Zeke Johnson053 DJ Bay054 Zeke Johnson055 Zeke Johnson & Sturgis Nikides056 Zeke Johnson & Low Society
Radio Memphis is a superb internet radio station that for the last four years has been supporting Memphis music and musicians. So for their fourth birthday, they threw a party at their studios with food and music, and broadcasted the music live on the air. The performers covered nearly all genres, from the folk of Mason Jar Fireflies, to the funky organic hip-hop of Tunica rapper Jay DaSkreet, who was backed by D-Squared, consisting of Donnon Johnson on drums and Devin Jordan on keyboards, to the country of Ciera Oulette, to the authentic blues of Zeke Johnson (who studied with the late Furry Lewis) and Sturgis and Mandy Nikides of Low Society. Rarely has so much great Memphis talent been in one building at the same time, and it led to some startling serendipities, as when Donnon Johnson got on the drums backing Mason Jar Fireflies as they played an instrumental riff as a warm-up. It was a great way to celebrate Radio Memphis and what it means to the local music community.

Keep up with Radio Memphis:
http://radio-memphis.com
https://www.facebook.com/radiomemphis

Keep up with Mason Jar Fireflies:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mason-Jar-Fireflies/316712228421086
http://www.masonjarfireflies.com


https://instagram.com/mjfireflies/
http://masonjarfireflies.bandcamp.com

Keep up with Jay DaSkreet:

http://www.datpiff.com/Jay-DaSkreet-Walk-The-Line-mixtape.467191.html
https://www.facebook.com/jay.daskreetteam
https://www.facebook.com/TTYL2BUSY.LMAO
https://instagram.com/daskreet/
https://twitter.com/skreetluv5

Keep up with Ciera Oulette:
https://www.facebook.com/SimplyCiera

http://cieraouellette.bandzoogle.com

https://www.youtube.com/user/ccouelle
https://instagram.com/cieraouellette/

Keep up with Zeke Johnson:
https://www.facebook.com/zeke.johnson.969

Keep up with Low Society:
http://www.screaminblues.com
https://www.facebook.com/LowSocietyBand

http://lowsocietyband.blogspot.com
https://www.bandpage.com/LOWSOCIETYBAND

https://lowsociety.bandcamp.com/releases











The Rebirth of Jazz on Beale Street at The Blue Note: A Tribute to Emerson Able

001 Memphis Jazz All-Stars002 Sidney Kirk003 Bill Hurd & Sidney Kirk Jr004 Ralph Collier005 Ralph Collier007 Ralph Collier, Bill Hurd & Sidney Kirk Jr008 Mickey Gregory & Sidney Kirk009 Emerson Able Tribute010 Mickey Gregory011 Mickey Gregory012 Mickey Gregory013 Johnny Yancey014 Kelvin015 Ralph Collier016 Sidney Kirk Jr017 Ralph Collier & Mickey Gregory018 Bill Hurd Quartet020 Johnny Yancey & Kevin021 Blue Note022 Blue Note
Jazz is the forgotten piece of the Memphis music puzzle. People who are familiar with Isaac Hayes, Al Green or Otis Redding have likely never heard of Frank Strozier, Booker Little, Joe Dukes, Jamil Nasser, Sonny Criss, Charles Lloyd, Harold Mabern or Phineas Newborn Jr. Yet the histories of jazz, blues and soul are interwoven in Memphis. A young Phineas Newborn Jr played on some of the early Sun blues records. Free jazz saxophonist Frank Lowe played with Con-Funk-Shun in the early 1970’s. Isaac Hayes’ first LP was a jazz trio record with Duck Dunn and Al Jackson Jr, and elements of jazz would be present in all his career. Much of our city’s jazz history springs from one particular high school, Manassas High School in North Memphis, which was home to Jimmie Lunceford, Jimmy Crawford, Frank Strozier, Booker Little, Harold Mabern and George Coleman, and much of that great legacy was the result of an incredible musician and band director, Emerson Able, who recently passed away. So when Johnny Yancey told me that there would be a jam session at the Blue Note on Beale Street in honor of Mr. Able, I decided to head down there, and found the club filled to overflowing. An all-star group of musicians was on stage, including Bill Hurd on saxophone, Sidney Kirk Sr. on piano, Sidney Kirk Jr on drums, Ralph Collier, Johnny Yancey and Mickey Gregory on trumpets and others. At least part of the purpose was to raise funds for instruments for the Manassas band program, and if it proved nothing else, the amazing Thursday night of music proved that Memphians will turn out to support authentic jazz in an accessible, welcoming environment. The jam sessions will continue to be held on the first Thursday of each month.

Blue Note Bar & Grill
341 Beale St
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 577-8387
http://bluenotebarandgrillinc.com


Joshua McCain and the Soul Seven at Los Cabos in Hickory Hill

001 Soul Seven002 Soul Seven003 Joshua McCain004 Soul Seven005 Soul Seven007 Gerald Bailey & The Soul Seven008 Gerald Bailey & The Soul Seven009 Gerald Bailey010 Gerald Bailey011 Gerald Bailey012 Gerald Bailey & The Soul Seven015 Gerald Bailey & The Soul Seven016 Gerald Bailey017 Los Cabos018 The Soul Seven Band
A year or so ago, Joshua McCain & The Soul Seven were playing every week at a place in Hickory Hill called El Toro Loco, but were left without a regular home when that place quit booking live music. Now they have ended up right around the corner at Los Cabos on Quince, where they hold forth every Tuesday night. Featuring vocalist Gerald Bailey and keyboardist Joshua McCain, the Soul Seven performs a mix of instrumental originals and covers from Memphis’ favorite R & B artists, such as Bobby Womack, Willie Hutch, Frankie Beverly and Michael Jackson, and usually draws a crowd anywhere they play. With two birthday parties on this particular night, the audience was even larger than usual.

Keep up with Joshua McCain:

Los Cabos Mexican Bar & Grill
6542 Quince Rd
Memphis, TN 38119
(901) 433-9083



A Soulful Sunday in Southwind with the Prime Cut Band #LiveFromMemphis

023 Prime Cut Band024 Prime Cut Band025 Prime Cut Band026 Prime Cut Band027 Audie Smith030 Prime Cut Band031 Prime Cut Band
Audie Smith has been well-known around Memphis as an extraordinary keyboard player, so when I saw that his band Prime Cut was playing at the Southwind location of Huey’s on Sunday night, I made plans to go and check them out. Although Audie’s background is jazz, Prime Cut plays primarily neo-soul and R & B, although in a rather jazz-inflected way. His keyboard skills are absolutely tremendous, and the band featured a really soulful singer as well. Particularly impressive were jazzy takes on “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” and Michael Jackson’s “I Can’t Help It”, neither one of them tunes usually associated with jazz. The music was great, and a decent crowd was in the house as well.



Thursday Night Jazz With Ed Finney & Jeremy Shrader at The Cove

001 Ed & Jeremy002 Jeremy Shrader003 Ed Finney005 Ed Finney & Jeremy Shrader007 Ed Finney & Jeremy Shrader008 The Cove
Jazz is getting increasingly harder to find in Memphis these days, and if that wasn’t bad enough, it recently got voted the least-popular genre of music in America, although that dubious distinction was based on downloads, and I could argue that we jazz fans prefer to buy discs or vinyl. But at any rate, it becomes more crucial than ever for us to support the jazz events we do have, and a great one happens every Thursday night at a quaint nautically-themed bar in the Broad Avenue Arts District called The Cove. Ed Finney is of course a legendary jazz guitarist around Memphis, and Jeremy Shrader is a younger trumpet player and singer, and together this duo performs a satisfying mix of jazz standards and original tunes each week from 9 to midnight. It’s nothing loud, or brash or bombastic, just a cool, hip aural ambiance. It’s definitely worth checking out, and although I didn’t eat, I’ve been told the food at The Cove is remarkably good as well.


Keep up with Jeremy Shrader:
http://www.jeremyshradermusic.com
https://www.facebook.com/JeremyShraderMusic


Keep up with The Cove:
http://thecovememphis.com
https://www.facebook.com/cove.bar

The Cove
2559 Broad Av
Memphis, TN 38112
(901) 730-01719

The Soulful Sounds of Tawanna Campbell at the Afterthought in Little Rock

002 Afterthought003 Afterthought004 Afterthought005 Afterthought006 Afterthought007 Afterthought008 Cliff Aaron & Tawanna Campbell009 Tawanna Campbell010 Tawanna Campbell011 Tawanna Campbell012 Tawanna Campbell013 Afterthought014 Cliff Aaron016 Tawanna Campbell017 Cliff Aaron & Friends018 Cliff Aaron & Friends019 Tawanna Campbell022 Tawanna Campbell023 Cliff Aaron & Friends024 Cliff Aaron025 Cliff Aaron026 Tawanna Campbell027 Cliff Aaron & Friends029 Tawanna Campbell033 Tawanna Campbell034 Afterthought
I was really not familiar with Tawanna Campbell at all, but I was in Little Rock on business, and saw that she was performing at the Afterthought Bistro and Bar, which is Little Rock’s oldest jazz club, and that her drummer was Cliff Aaron, so I decided to swing by and check out the show before driving back to Memphis. The band was first rate (Cliff is an amazing drummer) and Tawanna Campbell proved to be a great vocalist and an exquisite show personality on stage. The crowd was engaged through both sets, and unlike so many neb-soul shows, I was amazed at how diverse the crowd was- young and old, Black and white. The Afterthought is a wonderful venue, and this particular Friday night show was worth coming from Memphis to see.







Keep up with Tawanna Campbell:
https://www.facebook.com/tawanna.campbell?fref=browse_search

Keep up with The Afterthought Bistro and Bar:
http://www.afterthoughtbistroandbar.com
https://www.facebook.com/afterthoughtbistroandbar
https://www.reverbnation.com/venue/afterthoughtbistrobar

Authentic Soul and Blues at Kings Sports Bar With Since 5

001 Since 5 Band002 Since 5 Band003 Since 5 Band004 Since 5 Band005 Since 5 Band006 Since 5 Band007 Since 5 Band008 Since 5 Band009 Since 5 Band010 Sammy's R & B Lounge011 King's Sports Bar012 Since 5 Band013 Since 5 Band014 Since 5 Band015 Since 5 Band016 Since 5 Band017 Since 5 Band018 Since 5 Band019 Lisa Cook020 Lisa Cook021 Since 5 Band022 Since 5 Band023 Since 5 Band
Although Memphis’ live music scene is not as healthy as it should be, one of its redeeming features is the occasional opening of new live music venues, often in the inner city. When these spots appear, they often feature the authentic soul and blues music for which Memphis is known, so when I saw that a place had opened on Brooks Road called Kings Sports Bar and that they featured a band every Thursday night called Since 5, I had to make the trip to Whitehaven to see what was what.
As it turned out, King’s Sports Bar was in a small strip mall in a place I recall as a club years ago when I was in college, across the street from what was then Club Obsession. Back then it was a rap club, but nowadays it is a small and nondescript local sports bar attracting a small older crowd of locals, including a handful of vocalists who come to sit in with the band. Memphis is literally full of great musicians, and although I had not encountered the Since 5 Band before, they proved to be a gifted group of musicians, switching seamlessly from contemporary jazz and funk to soul and blues, and backing three different female singers, including Lisa Cook, a gifted vocalist who performed a blues and a Chaka Khan cover during the course of the evening. Even better, Since 5 played some original compositions, something that very rarely occurs with a lot of Memphis R & B bands these days. Kings Sports Bar features live music every Thursday night beginning at 8 PM, with free admission.

Keep up with Since 5:

http://www.thesince5band.com
https://www.facebook.com/thebandsince5

Keep up with Kings Sports Bar:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kings-Sports-Bar-Grill/166347696855765

Kings Sports Bar and Grill
949 E Brooks Rd
Memphis, TN 38116
(901) 201-9259