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BOTTOM LINE: “You Can ‘Cool Out’ with Jazz

Publishers Commentary by Wallace J. Allen

I woke up Tuesday morning listening to accounts of the protest against police shootings/attitudes/actions regarding Blacks in specific, and minorities in general. I have had my share of bad experiences with police, as well as participating in marches and protest. So, I must confess, my morning being shaped by “news” that was in fact an “old story” and was starting to give me the blues.

I fed and was sharing my blue feelings with my dog Sherman, when ignoring my pity party and grateful for his food, he gave me that “you the man” look.  “Thanks Sherm” was my thought as I instantly felt better.  Returning inside the house and into the atmosphere of my radio I was caressed by the sound of Jazz…Herbie Hancock! “Wow, KJAZZ is kicking this morning,” was my thought, but my baseline thought was,”you know you can’t get KJAZZ on this radio.” I was right, it was KUCR 88.3 FM effecting “Jazz Tuesday.”  I listened to 30 seconds of Jazz and my whole attitude changed!  I felt cool, empowered, like a person who has loved to lean on. I felt in touch with myself and the power of being one of God’s children. The free flowing music was like taking a “Wind Bath!”

The sounds and feeling reminded me of the medicinal value of Jazz Music. I decided that it was time to publicly thank Jim Palmer, founder of the Jazz and Art Exchange, for his commitment to keeping jazz alive in the Inland Empire. Jazz is a soother for most male anxieties. Jazz can make men forget what they were arguing about. Jim Palmer has been providing “a place to play” for Jazz and Blues musicians for over ten years. Jim‘s home base is the “Jazz and Art Exchange” located in the Adreson Building in Downtown San Bernardino.  Thanks Jim!

Every Monday evening at 1073 N. Mt Vernon Avenue at the Elks lodge, musicians gather for the “Blue Monday” Jazz Jam. A small donation provides access to hours of good music, food and drinks under the direction and hospitality of Jim Palmer and his partner Amos ”The Chef” Wallace.

Jim and Amos are now providing management services for the Elks Lodge, and on Sunday, December 28 they will bring a Grammy Nominee to the Inland Empire. The legendary Blues and Jazz singer, Barbara Morrison, will perform at the same Elks Lodge, at 1073 N. Mt Vernon for a 4 p.m. show.  This is the first of the Route 66 Jazz Series Produced by Westside Story Newspaper and Empire Talks Back radio.  Attending this show will not solve all of your problems, but you will definitely feel better about your chances. Jazz will allow and encourage you to “be cool!”

For ticket information and reservations to witness the great Barbara Morrison perform and entertain at a world class level, see the ad on page 8 or call (310) 462-1439.


World Renowned Bar-Kays Close Out the Year with Benefit Gala


By Sheri Neely

The legendary Bar-Kays celebrated 50 years in the music industry with a red carpet gala with friends and fans from all across the country on Thursday, December 4 at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in Memphis. Hosted by Elise Neal and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, performances included George Clinton, ConFunkShun, The Dazz Band, Mary Jane Girls, Willie Clayton, Sir Charles Jones, Jazze Pha, The SOS Band, Doug E. Fresh and the reunion of the United We Funk All-Stars. Special guest appearances included David Porter, Al Bell, Otis Redding, III, daughter of Rick James Ty James and Cherelle.

The benefit gala supported the Bar-Kays coined “Fab Five” nonprofit organizations: The Down Syndrome Association of Memphis & the Mid-South, St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, United Way of the Mid-South, The STAX Music Academy and The Allen Jones/Marjorie Barringer/Bar-Kays Scholarship Fund in support of LeMoyne Owen College.

Special presentations were made at a private VIP reception sponsored by the Hard Rock Café Memphis downtown on Beale Street. The Bar-Kays’ James Alexander and Larry Dodson, Sr. were presented with their honorary guitars from Hard Rock Cafe of Memphis’ general manager Julien Salley and Memphis & Shelby County Music commissioner Johnnie Walker.

They received awards and special presentations at the gala as well, including a proclamation from the State of Tennessee presented by Congressman Steve Cohen. They also received a presentation from the City of Los Angeles by award-winning filmmaker Keith O’Derek. The Bar-Kays performed during the historical WattsStax Music Festival held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 20, 1972.  Organized by Memphis’ Stax Records to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots, it is known as one of the top most important civil rights contributions to music history.

The red carpet gala was followed by a private VIP after party which was also held on Beale Street and sponsored by BB King’s Blues Club and Restaurant. It was attended by many of the performers and special guests from the gala.

“You Got to be Kidding… Tell Me It’s Not So!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Folks will hug and kiss you on Sunday morning and come Sunday night they are on the phone talking behind your back. “Tell Me It Is Not So!” People are hypocritical. You think that they are with you, but you find out that they are tearing you down.  Jealousy, gossip, lying, backbiting, cheating, criticizing, slandering is not only in the world but it is happening in the Church. So many Church people; Christians have become notorious for this. We speak ill of our brothers and sisters. We critique our leaders, but not to their faces. We whisper in the corners to one another trying to get our homeboys, home girls to sympathize with us. “You Got to be Kidding… Tell Me It’s Not So!” Have we forgotten Proverbs Chapter 6 that says, “These things does the Lord hate, these six things, yea seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaks lies and he that sows discord among brothers.”  Not to mention, Ephesians 4:29 which says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Don’t you know that God hates false witness and spreading lies and He hates stirring up conflict? Even if something is true it can still stir conflict and create disunity amongst us. And just because something maybe true, doesn’t make it okay to spread around. Our words should build up, encourage, instruct, maybe provide godly and gracious correction if necessary. Public shaming and spreading information about someone never helped anyone. We are called to protect the dignity of our neighbors.  We should take a cue from Jesus. He gently told sinners leave that path. He didn’t publicly shame people for making mistakes or being in sin. He never said “Hey Matthew, did you hear what Mark did last week?” But for whatever reason Christians somehow get sucked into it and we destroy each other. We drive people away from the church, and we cause divides, and we leave people feeling discouraged, hurt, angry, and humiliated. We talk about others like they’re somehow vile offenders. Like they’re somehow worse than us. “I can’t believe so and so would do that. That’s terrible!”  We are just as guilty of this sort of thing as everyone else or even more so. No wonder the Church has little influence upon the world compared to what it might have. The Church has become worldlier than the world itself.

How can we use our mouths to praise God on Sunday then cut down our neighbor on Monday? How can we be people who praise God while using that same mouth to attack someone made in God’s image. (James 3:9-12).  We should be treating all people with the same level of respect and dignity. After all Jesus said, “Let the one without sin, be the first to throw the stone.”[John 8:7} If we claim to be the beloved children of God and the body of Christ but spend our time and energy ripping each other apart, well, that sends a very clear message doesn’t it? If our claims of being a place of love coexist with hostility and backbiting, basically we’re just a bunch of lying hypocrites. Yes, the truth hurts. It’s like medicine. It does not always taste good, but we need it!  I tell you, we have to do better. Too many people give up their faith because of the mean gestures of Christians. We must not forget why the Church is in the world. Our words should spur one another towards Jesus not away from Him.

I’m not trying to be critical nor harsh. I’m calling for us to become more like Christ. I’m calling for us to have a renewed commitment to speak with grace. To use our words to build up. To Stop and Think when we speak.  Consider what will happen if people actually listen to you. I don’t have that problem. I know most of what I say isn’t listened to. But let us be imitators of God, who love like Jesus did, and use our words to glorify God like Jesus did. Let us refuse to participate in gossip, criticism, slander, and defamation. Let us be known as a people who speak well demonstrating grace. Let us use our mouth for God’s glory and the church edification. Never forgetting that we will be held accountable before God Himself for the things we do and say. It’s a terrible thing to see gossip, jealousy, pride, failure to love the brethren, etc. Let us love one another as Christ loves us!