I spoke with Felton Jones by phone. Felton (trumpet) and Eddie Chambliss (tenor) used to hit the afterhours sessions at Joe Brazil's basement in Detroit. Even though they were young and not as skilled as many of the musicians there, they were accepted as peers.
Felton says it was dark in the basement with a light only on the piano. About 20 people fit in the room standing shoulder to shoulder.
When you went up to play with the light on you it "felt like being in jail. You had fear if you played. It was CLASSICAL... HARD... BEBOP!"
In the 1950's many of the Detroit musicians formed a club. Joe Brazil was president. They acquired a beer and wine license, rented churches, charged $1 admission and sold hotdogs and chips to audiences during performances.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
John Miller was seven years old when he lived two doors down from Joe on Fleming Street. Last weekend at the Detroit Jazz Festival Talk Tent, he mentioned Joe's name to some of the musicians there and saw their faces light up. He went home and Googled "What happened to Joe Brazil?" and found this blog. We spoke by phone and hope to look up more neighbors and visitors to Joe's basement.