Big Jay McNeely

Big Jay McNeely

R&B FOUNDATION PIONEER AWARDS INDEX


Last Updated: 11/15/2001

BIG JAY MCNEELEY ROCKED THE HOUSE


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One of the things that I am going to stop doing is using terminology like "Jump Blues".

I’m gonna start calling it what it really is

(Rock n’ Roll)

From a musical standpoint, Big Jay McNeely’s performance at the Pioneer Awards show what the absolute HIGHLIGHT of the evening for me!

This 72 year old man ROCKED THE HOUSE with a WAILING, SHOUTING, HONKING SAX, the likes that I have NEVER experienced in my life, and had the Apollo crowd JUMPIN UP AND DOWN, CLAPPING THEIR HANDS and STOMPING THEIR FEET like they were in church!

He JUMPED UP ON THE APOLLO STAGE from as he entered NOT from backstage, but from the AUDIENCE!!!!

As Big Jay McNeely got up on to the stage, he began to prance around, continuing to WAIL AWAY ON HIS SAX.

Then suddenly…

· …he bent over

· …he laid on the floor

· …laid on his back

· …he started to SPIN

· …all the while continuing to WAIL

· …THIS 72 YEAR OLD MAN WAS BREAK DANCING WHILE PLAYING THE SAX

but Big Jay…

wasn’t

thru

yet

· …the lights were dimmed, the theater was now dark

· …a black light was turned on

· …and suddenly it was revealed

Big Jay had fluorescent gloves on

He had painted the sax blue (I think?)

The keys on the sax were painted red (I think?)

So what we saw was a SPINNING saxophone being played by a pair of WHITE GLOVES!!!!!!!!!!!

(anybody here ever hear of "SHOCK ROCK"?)

When I met Big Jay McNeely at the press conference the day before the show, what I saw was a frail old man walking around with a cane & a cowboy hat, being ignored by the press corps!

So naturally, I went over and talked with him….:)

The first thing he said to me was that he had a NEW CD and he wanted me to have a copy of it.

Then he told me about the importance of treating females right, especially your own mother

I quickly turned on my tape recorder, because the man was in a "conversational zone" that I wanted to capture

Then when he was finished, I introduced him to Mike and we talked for a bit about Soul-Patrol.

He said to us…

"Your mother must be proud of the two of you…"

Then he told us that he wasn’t going to be singing during the show, but that instead he was going to just play his sax.

He also told us that he was going to write a book on the HONKING SAXOPHONE, because it had become a "lost art"

IN NO WAY DID THIS ENCOUNTER PREPARE ME FOR WHAT I WITNESSED ON THE STAGE…

(it BLEW MY MIND)

–Bob Davis (11/2001)

"YOU CAN MAKE IT IF YOU TRY…"

–Sylvester Stewart


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