Gerald Majer, a native of Chicago's racially segregated South Side, has written a book about its musical life. The Velvet Lounge combines his personal experiences with the story, or stories, of his community, merging his account of the music and with the difficult conditions that shaped it. The result is an innovative combination of history, subjective experience of that history, and reflection on its meaning-that is, of fact, literature, and criticism. In the chapter posted here, Majer, after evoking the passion and pathos of Ammons' music, constructs a hypothetical but plausible explanation based contemporary oral accounts of the tenor saxophonist's arrest and unusually long jail sentence for drug possession.
In the coming months, JSO will feature more exceprts from The Velvet Lounge on other artists including Sonny Stitt, Wild Bill Davis, Jimmy Smith, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.