Jazz Monthly: Well, thank you for taking some New Orleans to Oklahoma. Talk about your first saxophone. I mean, here you saw this great sax player, but talk about when you got your first sax and what that experience was like.
EJ: Oh, man, I love to tell this story because even from age four I knew that I wanted to play saxophone, but at the elementary school that I attended you had to wait until the sixth grade in order to get into the school band, so coming from a musical background, I started out playing piano and had private lessons until I could get into sixth grade, but once I got into sixth grade, I was so excited, my father took me to the music store and of course we got my first saxophone, which at that time was the beginner’s instrument. Right when I had that first experience, I knew, man, this is it, I’m onto something, I’m gonna keep this going.
Jazz Monthly: All right, now, let me ask you. If your dad at that point in time had said “Son, how about a brand new bicycle or a saxophone?”
EJ: It wouldn’t have even been a question. It would’ve been a matter of which saxophone, not which bicycle. The saxophone has always been love.
Jazz Monthly: Well, that’s very cool, man. And when you’ve got that kind of love at that age and it’s a part of you, great things are gonna happen because it’s a part of who you are and it’s your identity.
Jazz Monthly: And to continue that love for music and for the instrument speaks very well with this record.
EJ: Oh, well, thank you, thank you so much, man.
Jazz Monthly: Absolutely. Now I gotta tell you, man, I was trying to pick a favorite track here because I always do that. It’s like okay, where’s my repeat song? And I’ve got like three. I couldn’t pick one. And it’s a great record to just hit random and let it play, but I love the title track because I think that’s when you hear Eldredge Jackson stretch out a little bit.
Jazz Monthly: And I love that full expression of who you are and what you’re feeling at the time with the music.
EJ: Yeah, actually that was one where I wrote that song many years ago and then once we started working on the project, I said “Wayman, I want you to listen to this and let me know what you think,” and once he had a chance to hear it, at that point he said “Man, we’ve got to put this on this project, man. That’s you.” And for him to say “This is who you are, this needs to come out,” then I really felt good about it.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, well, I’ve got to echo his sentiments because that’s what I felt, that this is Eldredge Jackson’s introduction, if you would.
EJ: Sure, sure.
Jazz Monthly: “This is who I am.” But I do like the first track too, “I Like That.” That’s a nice opening to this project, it really is.
EJ: Yeah, that’s the single that’s being released and the way that came about was probably about 10 o’clock one evening, I’m at home just kind of resting and thinking about the day, and I get a call from Wayman Tisdale saying “Man, you’ve got to come over” and here I’m like “Wow, 11 o’clock, 12 o’clock, okay, Wayman, let’s see what you got,” you know? So he pops the track in and we’re listening to it and right off the top, man, he says “Oh, what do you think?” And I kept saying “Man, I like that, I like that,” and so that’s kind of where it got its title from.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, it’s a sweet track. And speaking of time of day, “Sunday Morning at 10 A.M.,” you’ve got to tell me about “Sunday Morning at 10 A.M.” because that’s one of my favorite times of the week and the day.
EJ: Yeah, well, here again, it goes back to being the son of a minister as it were. My father pastored for a good 20 plus years and so every Sunday morning it wasn’t a question of if you were going to church but making sure you’re getting up in time enough to go, and with that church background, Sunday morning at 10 a.m., that was pretty much the title that I gave it just going back to my gospel roots, and anywhere in the U.S., whether it’s 10 o’clock or 11 o’clock, somewhere Sunday morning a church service is gonna be going on, so that’s kind of where we got that concept from.