Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tribulation and tribute - Al takes it and gives it...

R.I.P. Big Poppa E - Sunday Blues with Dar Newsletter Article
Submitted by Al Kanovsky, 9/4/12
It was fitting that a tribute to Big Poppa E, who died last week, be held at Tobacco Road, on a "Blue Monday" night. Sona, Poppa E's widow fronted "Evolution", their new band, with Darrell Raines on guitar, George Caldwell on bass and Kermit at the trap set. They were joined by Papa Joe to open the first set. BLUES and JAZZ artists from all over south Florida were there to honor the memory of the prolific, talented musician we all admired. Many of them "sat in" with inspired renditions of BLUES and standards. Maryel Epps, of City Hall Gospel Brunch fame, opened her stint with "I'm Ready, Willing and Able". It put the audience in the mood to celebrate Poppa E's life journey.

Like most musicians Poppa E worked hard to earn his "chops". An educated man, he transcended academia to send a message with the "BLUES". Life is filled with tribulation. When we pass some of us will have earned the love and respect of our contemporaries, friends and families. Like last night, hopefully, they will remember you with happy memories and a joy-filled party. Also joining in to "jam" with the band were Brother Ray on the electric piano, Joey "O" on alto and soprano sax, Neeka Summer and her beautiful voice, Piano Bob on you know what and at the end of the second set, Graham Wood Drout, founder of Iko Iko, did his original composition of "Meet Me In the Bottom". Part of the lyric says "where the ghosts of Mississippi meet the gods of Africa". Hopefully, Poppa E is in that spot, strumming his guitar, blowing into his "Mississippi saxophone" and singing the "BLUES" with all the "cats" who are already there. Rest In Peace, Big Poppa E, but keep 'em tappin' and clappin'.

BLUES is as big a part of JAZZ as singing is to opera. Without one there would not be the other. It started in the cotton fields with "work" songs. Then, into the churches with hymnals and gospel,  on stage with "minstrels, then into the streets and saloons with "Dixie" and "Ragtime", then into the ballrooms with swing, back into small clubs with be-bop. When they changed the name of the "Three Deuces" on 52nd St. to the "Peppermint Lounge" we knew that R&B was here to stay. Through all that, "Mom" the BLUES" was there to guide her child onto the right path. Remember the heritage. It made the music, we all love, what it is today.

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Posted by Jazz & Blues Florida
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