A Buffalo musician celebrates his past due father

He performed till the very give up until he couldn’t any longer.

He by no means allow on how unwell he turned into, now not even at some point in his weekly phone conversations with his son. He saw it as a sacred responsibility, this capability to make others experience exact along with his music. And it didn’t depend if it changed into in a tiny membership in Hamilton, Ont., or if it becomes to find it irresistible has been back inside the day, whilst he was traveling as a member of James Brown’s Band, spreading the gospel of funk to theaters and arenas a long way and huge.

He by no means blew a gig. It didn’t be counted if 10 human beings confirmed up or 10,000.

Doyle “DJ” Jones died Nov. 23 at the age of 72, due to complications from stomach cancer. He left at the back of a 50-year musical legacy. And with that legacy, he left to his son, famed Buffalo musician, band-chief and educator Eric Tyrone Crittenden-Jones, the 2 guitars that had taken the adventure with him, from Bastrop, La., in which he was certainly one of 13 kids born to the Rev. Peter Jones and the previous Roselene Jackson, to honky-tonks, clubs and live performance halls across the united states.

For Crittenden-Jones, the one’s guitars are extra than assemblages of wooden, twine and magnet; they are a reminder of the song his father bequeathed to him. And they are witnesses as properly, to the implicit demand that the son keeps the father’s work alive. The son plans to do precisely that. He’ll rejoice his father’s existence and song with a Feb. Eight shows on the Tralf Music Hall.

For most boys, their fathers are mythological incredible heroes, and it became no special for me,” Crittenden-Jones recalled at the same time as seated in his Amherst dwelling room a few feet from the urn protecting his father’s ashes. (In the hobby of complete disclosure, I should notice that I’ve acknowledged Crittenden-Jones for more than twenty years, a friendship that turned into born within the mid-90s Buffalo tune scene we each habituated.)

“There are a few pix of me on James Brown’s bus and others of me on level fake-conserving my dad’s guitar – due to the fact I become, like, 2 on the time – and all of that became throughout his tenure with James. I didn’t research of all the other cats he performed with over the years – the Ink Spots, the Platters, the Dynamic Insiders, such a lot of others – until he requested me to review his resume a few years in the past. I changed into like, ‘Dad, critically!?’ He spoke back very cavalierly: ‘Your dad is a horrific (expletive), what can I say?’ And he walked off.

“He in no way regarded lower back to the past. Ever. For him, playing with those cats turned into as every day as washing your face. But for me, well, I turned into – and nonetheless am, a bit – speechless.

Jones the elder changed into a traveling musician. Balancing family life with the demands of the road can be rough going for all concerned. But Crittenden-Jones benefited from a bond cast through a track. Jones might also have been a man of few phrases, but they have been the right phrases, and that they had an effect on his son.

“One of my earliest musical reminiscences related to my dad became after I showed up for a weekend visit with my tenor sax and a grade 6 NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) solo I changed into making ready for an All-County Band audition,” Crittenden-Jones recalls. “He changed into interested by what it changed into I became running on, so I performed it for him. And he stated, ‘Sounds suitable son, however, we don’t play that classical (expletive) around right here. Play strains, son, traces. Like Sam and Dave … Play traces!’ ”

“It turned into usually approximately the pocket, about the soul, and about showmanship. Always. Which now, along with his passing, I respect lots extra, due to the fact those words were a philosophy that transcended the stage and made it into the area of life in general. He loved to live his existence to serve others, in that he lived to cause them to sense accurate, regardless of what. And he did so humbly. He by no means spoke of all his accolades. Don’t get me incorrect – he by no means lacked for self-belief. But he never touted himself.”

Those instructions imparted via the daddy – honor the groove, let soulfulness be king, carry your A-recreation, however, be humble and serve others – took root in the son’s approach to tune, and are in evidence whenever his band, Critt’s Juke Joint takes the level. They’re also in the middle of Crittenden-Jones’ approach to song training, something he has been concerned with for almost two a long time.

A graduate of Sweet Home High School, he holds a bachelor’s diploma in tune performance and a master’s diploma in schooling from SUNY Empire State College and SUNY Buffalo State College respectively. He has carried out them to coaching stints on the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology, Villa Maria College, the Music is Art summer song camp, his very own Future Sounds of Buffalo application – which focuses on nurturing young musical expertise within the area – and most currently, as a Career and Technical Education Certified Music Teacher with the Buffalo Public Schools.

I requested Crittenden-Jones while he first found out that music became it for him, that he might observe in his father’s footsteps and be a musician for the rest of his existence.

“It fully hit me when I was playing and traveling with (Buffalo funk-jazz trio) TheWaz inside the overdue ’90s,” he said. “When you roll into Anytown USA and you are welcomed with the aid of those who know your authentic song, your vibe, and your band as well as you do – it really is quite humbling, to mention the least. It sincerely hit home when we headlined a competition out in Nevada. It changed into in order that crazy to have all the ones humans display up for us.

With Critt’s Juke Joint, Crittenden-Jones has created a fiery gumbo marrying funk, blues, soul, and R&B. Though he’s an avowed fan of an extensive variety of musical patterns, from Pink Floyd to Charlie Parker to the Grateful Dead to Rage Against the Machine and returned, the focus of the Juke Joint has become, in a feel, a celebration of his father’s influence.

“In essence, yes, it really is genuine,” he says. “But the Juke Joint is likewise a party of the American roots music existence. Arguably, tune as we have fun it these days wouldn’t exist without the chitlin circuit sounds of those artists who crafted the roots, from the Jim Crow south to Harlem and back once more. We exist to honor that revel in. And my dad turned into simply a part of that.”

Though his father’s demise hit him tough – “It’s all nonetheless so surreal to me, guy, simply loopy surreal” – it is clear that track will play a major part within the recovery procedure for Crittenden-Jones. His plan is to honor his father and have a good time his life via gambling the tune that is his own family inheritance.

“Playing the one’s songs now could be my connection to him, to his reminiscence. As a medium to the message of the tune, I have a duty to pay it all ahead. Every time I hit it for a gig, every track I sing and each word I play, I even have constantly achieved with my parents’ love in my coronary heart. That will in no way exchange.”