The Jazz Corps was put together in late 1963 with a group of free spirited jazz musicians.
On Tuesday nights at Maurice’s house “The First Temple of Freedom”, we would play and play away.
The music was to provide us with a vehicle so we could express ourselves with no limits of time or space to our hearts’ content. We would say it was better then going to a shrink to get all that stuff out (unload our emotional baggage) and a lot more fun, too.
Plummer and Miller were the backbone and engine that grooved so hard that you ether had to play or get run over. Rodriguez, Blessing and I were all of one mind that seemed to breath together with one voice.
Many a Sunday afternoon at The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, we would play a couple of sets before the headliners like Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderley or Yusef Lateef would come up. Most of the time they would be in our audience, which added to the excitement.
On one occasion during intermission, Nat Adderly sat next to me and mentioned that I reminded him of Don Cherry. I told him I was a big fan, that Cherry has influenced me a great deal. He was also a Cherry fan and was really into Ornette Coleman and his musical concept.
“The Time Miller”, is a song we would get to stretch-out on. It was written for our drummer Maurice who would use mallets only, throughout the piece. It’s like we would follow the spirits into the unknown, creating musical pictures in unison and then come out the other side. No matter how far-out we got, the theme of the song was never forgotten, it reoccurs during the solos in different forms, melodically and rhythmically. Every time we would play this song, it would come out completely different.
Thanks to the generosity of Howard Rumsey - who recorded us each time we played at the Lighthouse - which made these recordings possible for us to enjoy today. We would play long sets and sometimes run out of tape like on “Ride Miller Ride”, or miss the head of a song like “Chalon Pago” while Howard was busy changing the tapes.
All in all, it was all good.