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July 30, 2009

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James Comer

I saw / met Big Jay in Phoenix in the 80's duckwalking on the bar at a Blues Club with the Rocket 88's and thought it one of the best acts I'd ever seen! Later in New York I met Big Jay again at Tramps blowin' up a storm with Big Joe Houston! Big Jay should definetly be in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!! James Comer

Andy - bigbuzzard

I play sax, and have been heavily influenced by both Big J's musical style, and his showmanship/theatricality. Anyone who ever saw the Honkin' Hep Cats http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Honkin-Hep-Cats will recognise the debt we owed to him. In our early days, some of us went on a pilgrimage to watch him play at a club in Reading, UK - to a lamentably small audience. Also on the bill that night were King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys. This would have been around 1987-8.

He was a star. He had a pick up rhythm section that could have done with a pick up themselves. We shouted for him to play 3-D, and he did. It's a simple 'Rhythm Changes' that modulates around the circle of 5ths - first 1 Vth, then 2x Vths, then 3, etc. The band got hopelessly lost, but he just kept on blowin'.

I hear he's coming to the UK this year - I hope to see him again.

Andy Williamson

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  • Marc Myers writes frequently on music and the arts for the Wall Street Journal. He is author of "Why Jazz Happened" (University of California Press). In 2012, JazzWax was named the Jazz Journalists Association's "Blog of the Year."

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