Saturday, February 2, 2013

1989 Interview

Paul DeBarros interviewed Joe Brazil for Jackson Street After Hours. A transcript by Carmen Jones contains information about Brazil's Detroit home where musicians congregated.

"From playing with all the different Detroit musicians, my home became a mecca for a lot of... it was just an idea I had... I grew up in a poor area.. ghetto area around what you call downtown Detroit. In the 1940's when I got out ot service with my G.I. Bill, I bought a home out in the area... We were the first Black family in that block. In fact, we got a lot of hate letters. No so much directed at us, but just... as Blacks moving into the neighborhood or something like that. Knock on the door. And so we'd read it. I was about 21 or 22 at the time when I bought my first home, and it was just for my mom and my brother. We all moved together.

"Anyway, out of that house became an area where a lot of jazz artists... it was something I had in my mind that I wanted to build a studio. Which I did eventually, in my basement. It wasn't really a studio. It was just like a place to kind of... But I had this baby grand piano and kind of like a bandstand kind of thing. And everybody used to come there and just play.

"My mom passed away. My brother moved out. So I just had this house to myself. A lot of musicians moved in with me during this period of time. They could be down on their luck or whatever, so I just always had musicians come live there. Sometimes they paid a little rent... mowed the yard or whatever.

"So Paul Chambers stayed with me for a long time, and 'Cokie' Winfrey -- somebody you probably never heard of. Ollie Jackson -- you might have heard of him, a bass player. And many more people throughout the years. But those are the ones that come to mind at the moment."

Interview excerpt 2

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