Category Archives: Man In The Penguin Suit

August newsletter

Greetings on this first full week in August! 

Today, I am putting together food for the rest of the week and I have decided on a Creole/Cajun influence with the seasoning of Louisiana. 

First off, I am making my Remoulade Sauce to keep in the fridge for salads and such.  I garnered this recipe from New Orleans a long time ago and have put my touches on it. Along with this, I will be making the Emeril Creole Seasoning. This is a catch all seasoning combination made of dry spices and can be kept in the spice cabinet.

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Please help keep this going! Donate here if you wish

I will be making Ceviche as it another thing I can keep for a lunch salad or dinner appetizer. It’s also good for breakfast. I am waiting until next week to do my cold Smoked Salmon better known as Lox for bagels and such. The Creole flavors are a mix of many cultures, developed over the ages in New Orleans and the Bayous of Louisiana. 

Moving right along, my Pickled Squash is always a keeper.  It pairs well with pickled Onions and Tomatoes in a multiple course dinner.

Shrimp Creole is the citified dish for New Orleans! The flavors are fantastic and while it is considered more cultured than the Cajun Jambalaya, the flavors are close. I always thought that the only thing separating us from each other is some type of arrogance on both sides of the fence. Perhaps that is why I consider myself as a personal representative of when the Cajun met the Creole, they produced me! I will be using the Lobster and Shrimp Stock from here.

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The Piece De Resistance is a subtle Cioppino from the fantastic city of San Francisco! 

Have a great week! My work is cut out for me. Always check the sales at the local markets and purchase well. Be creative and enjoy life! 

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Crawfish bisque

2 pounds fresh crawfish or 1 pound fresh and one bag frozen crawfish tails

Crab and Shrimp boil

2 bottles clam juice

1 stick butter

6 tablespoons flour for roux

Cajun Trinity finely minced (celery, onion and bell pepper)

1 medium can tomato puree (optional)

Water to fill stock pot for boiling crawfish

Fill stock pot with enough water to cover crawfish, shrimp and other shell fish and add bag of shrimp boil.  Additional Cayenne, Lemon and other herbs may be added to taste.  Bring to boil and drop the shellfish in, only blanching to a light doneness.  Remove from the stock and let cool before peeling or you might burn your fingers…LOL.

Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat in other stock pot or dutch oven and have flour ready to add, 1 to 2 tablespoons at the time to make a golden brown roux.  Stir constantly over low to medium heat for about 15 minutes, judging with the eye as there is really no way to say how long it will take, even for the most experienced chef. 

Have the trinity ready to add, as I do this almost immediately as the roux begins to brown and continue stirring.  When this reaches a desired doneness to you personally ( I like it still crunchy myself) add the clam juice and 3 to 4 cups of the boiling broth to the pot, let simmer over low heat for an hour. 

I actually prefer a lighter roux as the spices I add later on bring out that great flavor sensation of the head and the sweet.  Have ready fresh Nutmeg, finely grated, Cayenne Pepper to taste, Ground Black Pepper to taste, Paprika (at least a quarter cup of this great spice) and add about 15 to 20 minutes before the addition of the peeled and deveined shellfish.  The shell fish are added during the last 5 minutes of preparation.  Yum Yum….!

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Predatory Lending and Planned Foreclosure in USA

Consumers need to know that they may be dealing with companies who are unlicensed and are not authorized to act as a mortgage lender or mortgage broker. In addition, it is also an unfair and deceptive act for a licensed mortgage lender or mortgage broker to conduct business with a person or company which is not licensed.
Here was the trap we fell into. Marquis Money, an unlicensed company in Houston, was our mortgage broker. He worked with Flagstar Bank with underwater and subprime mortgages.

Predatory Lending and Mortgage Fraud

On February 24, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Case No. 12-cv-01392, against the Company alleging that for over a decade Flagstar had been improperly approving thousands of residential home mortgage loans for government insurance. Specifically, the DOJ alleges that the Company: used unauthorized staff employees in the loan approval process; paid substantial incentive awards to these unauthorized employees for exceeding certain quotas; permitted underwriters to submit false certifications to the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”); and misled FHA and HUD by certifying that the loans had been fully underwritten by properly registered and sufficiently experienced underwriters when they had not. The DOJ further alleges that as a result of the foregoing, thousands of loans were approved for government insurance that did not qualify for insurance and when the loans defaulted, HUD was forced to cover the losses.
On March 13,2012 it was announced that shareholder rights firm Robbins Umeda LLP was investigating possible breaches of fiduciary duty and other violations of the law by certain officers and directors at Flagstar Bancorp, Inc.
In particular, the firm investigated allegations that Flagstar violated the False Claims Act when it improperly endorsed federally insured mortgage loans that eventually defaulted and falsely certified its loan underwriting practices to federal housing authorities. On February 24, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint against Flagstar, which alleges that Flagstar utilized under-qualified underwriting assistants to approve thousands of residential home mortgage loans for Federal Housing Administration insurance. The complaint also alleges that Flagstar improperly set daily quotas for the underwriting assistants and paid them substantial incentive awards for exceeding their quotas. While engaging in this scheme, the officers and directors of the company not only exposed Flagstar to significant liability, but, represented to the investing public that Flagstar was operating in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
Flagstar did not conduct its operations in the underwriting of
FHA loans in accordance with HUD-FHA regulations.

On February 24, 2012, Flagstar admitted, acknowledged, and accepted responsibility for submitting false certifications to HUD about the eligibility of its loans for FHA insurance.
In a settlement reached with the U.S Attorney’s Office, the lender agreed to pay $132.8 million to the United States in damages and penalties under the False Claims Act and to reform its business practices.
Flagstar admitted that during the period January 1, 2002, to February 24, 2012, it delegated underwriting decisions to unauthorized staff.
The lender also admitted that it underwrote and approved for FHA insurance loans that did not comply with certain HUD-FHA underwriting requirements, and HUD paid insurance claims on these ineligible loans.
Further, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that Flagstar set daily quotas for its HUD approved underwriters and underwriting assistants and paid these employees substantial incentive awards for exceeding daily quotas.
Flagstar agreed to pay $132.8 million and to other concessions to resolve the U.S. Government’s claims.
The lender agreed to pay $15 million within 30 days after approval of the settlement by the court and make additional payments totaling $117.8 million as soon as it met certain financial benchmarks.
Additionally, Flagstar agreed to
(1) comply with all relevant HUD-FHA rules applicable to direct endorsement lenders,
(2) the completion of a 1-year period in which Flagstar’s compliance with HUD-FHA rules would be monitored by a third party at Flagstar’s expense, and
(3) implementation of a training program for all employees involved in the origination and underwriting of FHA loans. Flagstar also agreed to certify to HUD that the individuals in senior leadership positions who previously had primary responsibility for initiating and overseeing Flagstar’s manual underwriting process were no longer employed by the lender

hinde

We bought our home in 2008, started negotiations with Flagstar for a HAMP mortgage adjustment in 2009. After a year of back and forth paper work, we decided to hire an attorney to straighten this out in 2010. We were told not to make anymore payments until it was straightened out.
Bad advice from a bad attorney.
Don’t let this happen to you!
My PSA for the day.

#flagstarbank #Houston #Mortgage #Foreclosure #HUD

Judge Dan Hinde

This is a letter my husband wrote to Judge Dan Hinde, District Court 269, Harris County Texas.  His ruling on our 8 year long case is abhorrent and he is up for reelection.  From the beginning of the trial, when he referred to my Husband as “Mrs. Turner”, I knew the fix was in.  Elaine Stoute was the attorney for the defendent, Queens Park Oval Assets Holding Trust.

The case is Statutory Mortgage Fraud and our attorneys, that we fired in 2015, continued to speak for us, without our knowledge. John C Osborne and William Robertson from Houston, Texas are scam artists to the ninth degree and not to be trusted.

hinde

John C. Osborne record:

PUBLIC DISCIPLINARY HISTORY
State of Texas*
Sanction Entry date
(Start-End)
Sanction
(Start-End)
Probation
Fully Probated Suspension

12/15/09 01/01/10 – 12/31/13
Partially Probated Suspension

09/09/13 01/01/14 – 12/31/14 01/01/15 – 12/31/16

The Letter:

Your Honor:
My name is Jody Turner and you tried a case on July 2 of 2018. I wanted to say thank you for your ruling, But I feel there was something you may have over looked for the case went on for 8 years. It was not about us paying the mortgage for when we first filled it was due to Statutory Fraud for Marque Money, Jeremy Radack, Son of County Commissioner Steve Radack and Texas Supreme Court Justice Radack, was not registered in the state of Texas as a broker. To me that would void everything.
The reason we did not sue Marquis Money for his he son of Steve Radack and he the constable and his mother sits on the supreme court of Texas. Do you think it would be worth it.? We did not so we did not file on them. But what I disappointed in was the way the big company and get way with things and the other guys get the boot to say.
To me, if someone is not registered in the state of Texas, that says they cannot not do business in the State and anything that all he signs would have been voided.
So instead the big company come in can confuse the courts and the case around and the little people get the boot. For us, we have housed many people in the time of need, to get them off the streets of Houston and with the ruling you make you put more out on the streets. Ever wonder why there are so many people on the streets? Well I don’t know many people that are hardworking that make about 13.00 dollars or less that make 3Xs the rent for a one bed room going for 850.00 X 3 would 2555.00 a month then add all their other expense to that and people and not afford it. Not everyone was lucky enough to get elected to the bench.
Like I said we tried to pay the mortgage, but they did not want so we were putting some of money back into the house and paying the other bill we could. The house foundation is cracked, black mold, the doors won’t shut, the pipes are breaking and all there is more, but I don’t want to bore you.
Most people thought we were living high on the hog. but we were not. The house we bought, was for 5 people. One person backed out before we bought the house. As time went on we bought there was 4 us then 2 year in one died the other move out. We were trying find others to live with us, so we can keep the house.
All this was over a high-power man that want to be working in Texas they did not have the right to do so. So, I guess it is ok to do things in Texas without a license or being registered in Texas and if you have money and power you can do what you want. For if we could have found some good lawyer as well we may have won the case. So, the company wins as the little lose again.
I just wish you would have look over the whole case.

Mr. Jody Turner

Dr. Jere K Douglas, ESQ

There is a lot more, but I would not recommend doing business in the State of Texas.

The Audacious Life

Are you ready to push your personal and professional boundaries? Is it time to move forward for you?

Calling all Leaders, Entrepreneurs, Influencers, Visionaries and Destiny Seekers! Join me this April and experience one of the BOLDEST events of your life, The Audacious Life 2016™.

My team of experts and I will optimize AUDACITY in every area of your life and transform the way you think about Worship, Wellness, Worth and Work. Our two and half-day journey together will result in greater profit spiritually, physically and professionally. If you are on a quest to uncover your unique identity in Christ and become the spiritual and professional giant God has called you to be, then this event is for you!

Trust me, you don’t want to miss it!

Join us here in Houston with International Performing Artist, Jade Simmons on this fantastic journey to self realization and a dramatic life.

GROW BIGGER FAITH. MAKE A BIGGER IMPACT. UNLEASH MOMENTUM SPIRITUALLY, EMOTIONALLY, PHYSICALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY!

The Audacious Life 2016™ will be an immersive and invaluable experience taking place over two and a half action-packed days in Houston, Texas. Experience multiple dynamic, content-jammed sessions with Jade designed to push you to greater levels of profitable audacity. Add to that powerful plenary sessions from Jade’s team of Audacious Living Experts and out-of-this-world praise and worship.  Make sure you’re signed up to get more details on our amazing speakers and their unique sessions.”

Jade

“Pianist with a Purpose, Revolutionary with a Cause. Emergence Expert & creator of innovative performances that matter.” Experience more: www.jadesimmons.com

Being Mischevious
It’s Time

Jere Douglas, Founder of the Parlor Project, is the premier Arts Experiences Curator. He empowers us to see and live life as an art form! Through the Parlor Project, he connects professional artists and musicians to rabid professional arts lovers, their organic fan-base. As the Man in the Penguin Suit, Jere curates multi-sensory artistic experiences that challenge staid traditions in the arts and antiquated concepts in arts presentation. In a powerful combination of access, interaction and adventure the Parlor Project puts a human face to the marvelous sounds that people hear and provides an opportunity for its members to explore their creativity in all aspects of life.

Bipolar A Discussion

I get a kick out of some things, laugh at others and some make me downright angry.
In 1983, is was made aware that I could possibly have a condition known as Bi Polar. I had no clue what that was at the time but I have learned. I have also learned how to control it so it does not control me. Statistics say that today there are over 10 million in the United States alone that deal with this condition, some quite successfully and some not. It’s important to have a conversation about this and be aware.
From the American Psychological Association: Bipolar: Environmental factors – abuse, mental stress, a “significant loss”, or some other traumatic event may contribute towards bipolar disorder risk. Traumatic events may include the death of a loved one, losing your job, the birth of a child, or moving house. Experts say many things, if the variables are right, can trigger bipolar disorder in some people. They add that we all react differently to environmental factors. However, once bipolar disorder is triggered and starts to progress, it appears to take on a life and force of its own.
Mine came from being in a bizarre family situation growing up, the product of divorced parents and having to deal with the absurd behaviors and stuck in the middle of the fights. As I said in an earlier post here that I hid behind the horn and the organ and expressed my emotions that way. I was actually a very shy child.
Recently, I checked into the DeBakey Veterans Hospital here in Houston for a kidney infection. In Triage, I was given a full dose of Morphine and another full dose of Dilaudid for pain. That sent my blood pressure into the bargain basement and put me in danger of saying goodbye to this world. That’s what happens with interns in a trauma environment where qualified professionals are needed most.
The next day, I met the lead care team and was pounded with a lot of questions concerning my medical history and such. All of this is available through the computerized records there. I did not know that this team had called for a psychological evaluation done on me that day. This is what happened and the notes from my final discharge from that facility.
The Psych evaluation on final discharge from the VA in Houston states that as an artist, I am delusional and well, that’s why I do not like parts of the VA.
The myopic vision along with draconian perspectives of the Mental Health clinic is absurd. Their banal existence in a cubicle about as small as their mind is astounding.
The funniest thing, on a VA document that I have seen lately, is the comment about my “writing movements”. Lol. That invalidates the comment and the document.
I feel it is time to up the ante on Health Care in the United States and recognize the subjective side of the Psychological team and how that can be improved.
Bipolar is a discussion we need to have and make it productive.

The Man in the Penguin Suit

Act 1, Scene 2
College Beginnings
In 1975 I graduated high school and began my college career at the University of Tennessee at Martin with a full tuition scholarship for marching band. It was nice, it was fun and it seemed all the Milan kids went there so it was a comfort zone for me. Tony D’Andrea was the band director and I had already studied with him some. Great guy, Italian, reed player, good person and liked to party. I thought what could possibly go wrong?
Well, I became a party animal and since it was my first year in college, I thought what the heck. The Hourglass was a local hangout and I think I had some large bar tabs there but I was on fake ID. I was having a blast.
The classes were boring to me except for English and History, accounting I whizzed through, and the rest was music. So my days were quite full with rehearsals lessons and the arts and of course my two hour practice sessions, then the Hourglass till midnight. It was fun times but when Christmas came around, something happened. Daddy and I got into it and it was not pretty. So, we parted company and not in a good way.

Continue reading The Man in the Penguin Suit

Dedication for Man in the Penguin Suit

Hello! My name is Jere Kizer Douglas, better known as JK.  This is the story of my life and world, how I’ve grown and come into being.

The title of this biography reflects what it is like to be a professional musician, playing in the pits, symphony orchestras and back up to major stars.  I am of the ones you hear but probably never see or know.

Behind the Ligature was suggested by a dear friend and my Auntie Mame that I met in Houston, Mr. Lloyd Wassenich.  Lloyd is a major theater buff and quite knowledgeable on not only that but other topics as well.  He is a dear friend and we have been there for each other through sickness and in good health, therefore I consider him one of my brothers of choice.

Other people in my life include Mr. Don Johnson whom I grew up with in Memphis and let’s just say other places around the country.  We met and became dear friends as young adults in the bars and denzions of Memphis and the MidSouth.  Without him, I sometimes wonder if I would be here today.

Then there is Mr. Vance Reger, Dr. Marshall Fine, Mrs Michelle Pellay-Walker and Dr. Kelly Ker Van Hacklemann who have been around me for decades and I consider to be a part of my family of choice. All greatly talented artists and musicians.  I treasure there friendships and closeness.

My family including my wonderful grandparents who fought over me and yet saw to it that I had a great foundation to build a life on.  My mother, father and step mother who dealt with and overcame some major issue in their lives including acceptance and compassion with a gay son, grandchildren that are multi racial and a great sister who said one Christmas Eve as we were sitting in the snow while Papa was asleep on the couch, “Bubba, Reverand Jesse Jackson would be very proud of this family, it’s the whole Rainbow Coalition under one roof!”

To the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and all the great musical artists there that have an inspiration to me and a part of my development since childhood.

Last but not least, my life partner and spouse, Mr. Jody Turner.  What a great adventure meeting you and taking that trip to Houston so many years ago. And to our unique little family group, the Ukitena Clan of Houston, Texas.

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Dr. Marshall Fine, artist, composer, friend, colleage.

This work is dedicated to the gracious memory of Dr. Marshall Fine.

Without his wisdom and knowledge, I might not be here today.

Dr. Fine, gone too soon, this is for you Sir!

The Man In The Penguin Suit

A small introduction to this series. This is my life story about growing up with divorced parents in the fifties and dealing with being a prodigy. I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoy telling it.

The Man in the Penguin Suit is about my life as a back up and pit musician for various on and off Broadway shows and as a freelance recording and performing artist.

This story is also being published here.

Jere

Jere Fingers 1
OH, this is where the fingers go!

Act One, Scene One

I was born in a small town in Tennessee. My mother said that when I was born there was a football game and the band was playing. She also said that the football team had just scored a touchdown and the band was playing the fight song. What an interesting way to be born! Word filtered out over the City that Margaret DeShong had a new grandbaby and life changed.

Mama and daddy took off in another couple during their junior year in high school to Corinth Mississippi to get married. Imagine that! Well things heated up and they happen to not tell anybody they were married until mother started showing with me. I think she might’ve had morning sickness or something when they finally had let the cat out of the bag and boy did life change then.

Well I began life as a product of two people much too young to be married and least of all children. My parents had just graduated from high school and were separated when I was born. I began my life in the court systems of Gibson County, Tennessee. People have asked me how later in life I knew so much about the legal system in the United States. The answer lies in my being in an out-of-court fortitude for two decades and dealing with attorneys along with men in black robes. By the time I was a teenager I knew the ins and outs of every courtroom in Gibson County and West Tennessee. Here’s an interesting way to grow up and back then,in the 50’s, it was unusual to have a single mother.

When I was five years old my mother had another child, a brother whom I’ve never met but perchance might someday. It’s ironic that my mother was also adopted and raised by two loving parents who also embraced me. Seeing that my brother was not particularly welcome at the time and living in a small town, we had to move. That move took us to Memphis Tennessee where we lived in East Memphis not far from Second Presbyterian Church where I grew up. Growing up Presbyterian was kind of interesting as that is where I also went to school at Presbyterian Day school. There isn’t much I don’t know about the Presbyterian Church or the system of government in the church and that’s something I’m quite proud of. I was also fascinated by Mrs. Robertson playing the organ every Sunday. To me it was humongous and I started taking piano lessons at the Berl Olswanger studio in Memphis. I was also exposed to a wonderful choir and talented musicians of the Memphis Symphony, some of which attended church there and my love of music was ingrained for life.

I really enjoyed my first year of piano learning the notes learning the sounds and playing by ear. I used to dream even at that young age of playing at Carnegie Hall one day. My grandparents bought me an upright piano and it was placed in the living room far far away. Our house on Goodlett was gigantic to me and it even had a maid’s quarters in the back. This was in that timeframe of the 50s and 60s, the time of the civil rights movements across the United States. Yes I was raised by Willie Mae and her sister. Have a lot of fond memories of them. My grandmother was involved in the bridge club and my mother was a working single mom. My grandfather was a traveling shoe salesman and was gone a lot during the week. So my practice time was in the afternoon playtime lasted about 45 minutes when dinner began and time for studies. Life seemed grand to me for a while.

As I grew older, about seven or eight years old, I began to wonder why I didn’t have a father around all the time and started questioning my mother about why daddy does live with us. I could not understand why he was in Memphis in college and I went to see him at the Sigma Chi house all the time. Every other kid I was in school with, their mother and father lived together so why don’t y’all? That’s when I first begin to realize that things were a bit different and I had to adjust. I did have some of the kids picking on me at school asking where my father was as it was unusual to them for me not to have a father. I took it to heart and began to delve into the music more along with the books. Music became my escape, my safety zone, my safety net. Practicing took me away from the realities I did not want to face.

It’s very interesting to me that later in life when I became a professional musician at the age of 11 there was something inside me that wanted to come out and I spoke to the music but it was vocal, organ, piano and later on clarinet. Thanks to the work of Ms. Turner, I became the youngest member of the chancel choir at Second Presbyterian Church when I was in the seventh grade. And thus began another aspect of my life.
I was quite happy singing in the choir as it was a dream come true for me. There I was in the chancel area, on stage, and I could watch Mrs. Robertson play the organ.

About a year later, I could finally reach the pedals on that wonderful instrument and I began to play the organ. I had already been playing Bach on the piano and after the Stainer book on organ technique, I graduated the Bach chorales, figured bass, and that unique collection of organ works by Bach. I thought this is fantastic! About that time, during the ninth grade, there are some problems at home and I decided I wanted to see what it was like living my father and he had just become married again. It was an easy making the change in fact it was a fight between me, my father, my mother, attorneys and the judge. Interesting memories and feelings from that time.

One good thing that happened with move and back and forth was I picked up the clarinet, sax and flute. My first teacher was a gentleman named Mr. Robert Hodge. He was the band director for the junior high he came across during the time of integration. He is a wonderful man and an interesting person very dedicated to his craft and come to find out was a jazz artist! More about that later…

I was back and forth during that ninth grade year in school, between Memphis and Milan as it was different to me actually living with my father. I knew my parents loved me in some way and I expected the same thing I saw with my friends and their parents. However it wasn’t that way and I did not understand why. Was I not good enough? Was I a bad kid? What am I doing wrong? All questions of a young teenager.

I sometimes feel I grew up before my time as I was always hanging out with adults and felt uncomfortable with the kids. I spent a lot of time practicing the organ and the clarinet also reading. I began to collect books, kinds of them. I liked biographies, world history, Civil War history, American revolutionary war history and the occasional lower book. I dated a lot, became engaged, dated long-distance, and still the music. My grandmother Douglas, better-known as Mimi, purchased a Thomas organ for me, the Lawrence Welk Deluxe like Bob Ralston played on the show. I was adamant practicing the organ and piano along with playing with Mrs. Foster at the nursing home. She could not read a note of music but boy can she play at the age of 80. We put a lot of duets together and even got a picture in the paper! Seem like fun times of going to school, working, going to the lake and living life so to speak. There were good days and bad days at the times and sad times and even though daddy and I had our differences there was a bond of some type.

Mother was my party animal in my Auntie Mame. She was a single mother of the 60s and 70s and she were that as a badge of honor. She had a good job, supported herself and me, and like to eat well and party. When I would go see her in Memphis it was always a fun time yet there was an undertone always. It took me a few decades to figure it out as mother events of my life but I did that’s a story for another chapter but suffice it to say I graduated high school with the help of Don Farmer and many nights my nose in the book trying to stay sober.

I began my high school music career playing the organ professionally and clarinet in the band. Mr. Robert Hodge was the jazz band director and boy was he tough! I don’t think any of us realized that he had been around the world seemingly and played with some of the greats that we only dreamed about meeting. I believe it was our junior year when he took a group of us up to meet Count Basie and his orchestra. I remember shaking his hand and him asking Robert if he brought his horn. The Count was a very unique man and I did not realize that our paths would cross again. I have to say that Robert, even though he was tough, was very thorough and made sure we knew all her parts and how to read jazz rhythms and jazz licks. He turned out a kick ass band!
I didn’t find out until years later when I was playing with Ray Charles and it came to Georgia my mind. You probably know that song, is one of his most famous. Well, I was in Memphis playing lead clarinet for a pickup orchestra job during Memphis in May with Ray. The rehearsal was that morning and when they came in he sat down piano and started playing. After he got his fingers warmed up and started rehearsal, it got to the song Georgia and well I started playing the clarinet. I wasn’t nervous and I played the best I could. He stopped the orchestra, looked my direction and said “That’s got to be a black clarinet player!” I responded, “No Sir, Mr. Charles. I am white but my first teacher was Robert Hodge!” His response, and I quote “Count Basie’s lead tenor!” Yes Sir! That was an eye-opening experience for me as I could not believe this connection it may just from my sound after Mr. Hodge being so difficult so hard on us. Looking back I learned a lesson there, never take anyone for granted as you never know their history unless you ask and they want to share.
I have to say that growing up between a major metropolitan area and a small town was quite an adventure. I actually had two sets of friends, one set I was around a lot and another set I knew on the fourth weekend of the month and six weeks in the summer. One of the aspects of growing up this way has given me itchy feet and letting the grass grow under my feet for too long makes me anxious to be someplace else a lot of the time. The results of this will be explored throughout this tome of my life’s adventures. Some say I have never met a stranger. Well, that holds true because I am usually the first to say Hello to anyone and carry on some type of conversation.
Grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat for a bit!