UP CLOSE WITH JEANIE by Jeanie Summerville
Whatz up, babies?
I hope, that all is well with you and yours and that, you’re still finding some form of happiness, beauty and joy everyday in this thing called life.
On that note, now we bring to you this week’s spotlight, Gregg Bacon, so he can share the fun and excitement that his career in music has brought him, how he got started and what he and his band are going to bring to us this Sunday at the Botanical Gardens Conservatory Downtown. So at this time, all we want you to do is sit back, relax and enjoy. Or, stand and jump and shout! If you want to, you can do that because we’re gonna take you there and this is what he has to say:
“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers. I’m Sizzlin’ Gregg Bacon coming to you from my native city Indianapolis, Ind., and I want you to know that whenever I come to Fort Wayne, I always enjoy myself because I have good friends there and while I’m entertaining the people that come out to see me perform and sizzle, that’s a lot of fun too because we have nothing but a great time together. I’m known as, Sizzling’ Gregg Bacon, because since my last name is Bacon and bacon sizzles when it’s being cooked so do I, as I play my two or three horns together. I play the alto saxophone, soprano and tenor horns at the same time and it sounds like a train coming at you sizzling all the way because it’s all in harmony and it‘s all good and so much fun.
“How it all came about is, back in the day when I was growing up, other than playing sports, the fellas in the neighborhood starting playing music and with me hanging around those guys, I just went down that road as well. The music kept me off the streets and out of trouble and it kept me focused on something else. I started playing the flute first because my sister played the flute and she taught me how to play at home. Then when I was a teenager still in high school, a friend of mine got me started on playing the saxophone and he even gave me my first one. So when I decided to take music as a junior, I chose to learn how to play the saxophone better but I still had a little edge on the flute. After that, I graduated from school and went straight out on the road playing in tour bands that consisted of four horn players, two guitarists, a pianist and a bunch of singers and GOD did the rest.
“We went out on the road playing behind a group called the Voice Masters. The Voice Masters were back up singers for Gene Chandler. However, when Gene wasn’t touring, they would go out because they had a new hit on 45rpm back in the day and we would go out and play behind those guys. They took us up into the St. Louis area right after high school and then we sort of moved there for a year or two. Then I hooked up with the band that played for the famous vocalist, James Bell and he took us all over the country and he hooked us up with B.B. King, Bobby “Blue” Bland and Joe Tex. I’ve also been on stage and played the blues with some more greats such as ZZ Hill, Joe Church and Rudy Ray Moore. I’ve also opened a lot of shows for greats such as Aretha Franklin, The Whispers, Lakeside, Najee and Alex Bougoun. All throughout my career, I’ve been blessed to get through all of those different shows and have fun.
“However, in between being on the road, coming back home and working, I went to Jordan College of Music which was the music department for Butler University and had private lessons. So in between what GOD blessed me with and studying at Jordan College, the blessings are abundant and I’m still playing. Me and my band play jazz, dance, R&B, some Motown, even a little bit of rock n roll and country so we’re very diverse. So, I have horn and will travel.
“I’ve been a performer for 35 plus years and I love every minute of it and the advice I would give to anyone that wants to play the horn is to study and practice everyday and take lessons. In the mean time, learn your favorite song by ear and learn to play Happy Birthday so you can play it for your loved ones and learn some Christmas carols because those are really nice at Christmas time because it gives you a reason to bring your horn out of the closet if you haven’t played it in a while.
“When I perform this Sunday, Sept. 22 at the Botanical Gardens Conservatory, that’s located downtown at 1100 S. Calhoun St., under the theme Jazz in the Park New Orleans Style, I want to see everybody there so I can sizzle for you and we’ll have a real good time. Special guest for that evening is Fort Wayne’s own Latrece Goree and I’ll also have all of my CDs available for you that night, even the one with Christmas carols. So Fort Wayne, I hope to see you there. This is an Ascension Enterprise/Dorothea Bragg’s Promotion and if you need tickets or more information please give her a call at (260) 302-1124. Tickets are available at TGFMobile’s 3706 S. Calhoun St and 620 E. Lewis St. locations. Doors open at 5 p.m., showtime is 6 p.m., for jazz at its finest.”
Now in closing I say, good job, Dorothea, and I hope you much success. So until next week, you’ve been up close with Jeanie. Bye, bye babies.
P.S. If you would like The Spotlight shined upon you or someone who you know, all in the name of love, just send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from ya.
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 18 print edition.