Gospel Brunch “Come Sunday”
Most agree that gospel music is the roots of blues and jazz. Key West’s Bahama Village has deep gospel roots. In fact, historically Bahama Village is the center of Keys music in general. The music of Bahama Village revolved around gospel, blues, and jazz.
There is a venerable mural, preserved at Rams Head Southermost on Petronia Street, that depicts a group of famous historical Bahama Village musicians – Fats Navarro, Coffee Butler, Harry Chipchase, Edwar Weech, and the Honey Boys. Their music inspired today’s Bahama Village born artists like Robert Albury, Cliff Sawyer, Buck Henry, and Clayton, Mina, and younger brother, Calvin Lopez.
Ms. Joan Lggett’s Blessed Community Choir, based in Bahama Village, included some of the best vocalists in Key West and performed together for over two decades. I’ve attended the New Orleans Heritage Jazz Festival, and it’s no accident the gospel tent is located between the jazz and blues pavilions. You cannot walk by without stopping to listen to the huge choirs and the sound of those huge B3 Hammond organs.
Long-time, and recently retired, Key West musician Michael McCloud would often say “one day a bunch of blues musicians got together, after tiring of playing the same chords, and developed this new style of music that included everything, and they called it jazz.” Add the deep and, sometimes, spiritual sound of soul music, and the circuit is complete. From this perspective, one can understand how a Sunday Gospel Brunch is more than appropriate.
It started as an idea from Denis Hyland, manager of the Little Room Jazz Club. Clayton Lopez and Mina Lopez-Martin performed, to a full house, at one of Larry Smith’s Sunday Showcases in 2022. Hyland has been trying to get them back into the club on a regular basis.
Years before, thanks to comments by Key West’s King of Soul, Robert Albury, Bahama village legend Coffee Butler was coaxed our of retirement to perform in 2015 at the Studios of Key West for one of my book release events. The gig sold out six weeks in advance.
We moved across the street to the Key West Theater and continued with five additional sold out concerts through 2019. Soul, blues, and jazz filled the theater. The audience couldn’t stay in their seats. At one 2017 concert, local businessman Ed Swift couldn’t help himself and was dancing during most of the second set. These concerts helped restore a love of Bahama Village music heritage and the great musicians and vocalists from that heritage.
A number of musicians, with Bahama Village heritage, have commented that the Key West community is losing some of its music roots. They feel that, the local Bahamian, gospel, and soul sounds have been replaced by reggae and the more modern reggaeton.
Enter the duo of fourth generation, Key Westers Clayton Lopez and Mina Lopez-Martin, collaborating with Denis Hyland and the Little Room Jazz Club. They have developed a new Sunday afternoon gig, “Come Sunday”. It is a combination of music, food, and fun with a huge repertoire of gospel favorites, uplifting soul, and jazz classics to celebrate their Bahama Village heritage. This gifted duo, with deep Bahama Village and Bahamian roots, will be joined by some of the island’s most popular musicians offering their talents.
This southern style brunch will include such specialties as Shrimp and Grits, Crab Cake Benedict, and Chicken and Waffles. The festivities include celebratory specialty drinks, all to raise the spirits and rejoice in the music of Key West’s heritage
Don’t miss the Little Room Jazz Club’s “Come Sunday”, Sunday June 25, 1pm- 4pm. Reservations can be made by emailing email@example.com — reservations are not required, but suggested.
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