"Jaimoe's Jasssz Band -- plays American music. We've got all these pieces of American music, rock & roll, blues but it's all jazz."
So says Jaimoe,Jai Johanny Johanson, drummer and founding members of The Allman Brothers Band, about his new touring ensemble that will be playing on Wednesday at The Mint in Los Angeles. The band will be featuring their first studio album "Renaissance Man" which after listening to the music comes across as a fusion of smooth cool jazz & blues.
"Jazz is a word that means hippy, sassy and that's what American music is --jazz, sassy and good. There is only two kinds of music, it's either good or it's bad. We play good music.", said Jaimoe, describing his new band.
The band just finished touring with The Allman Brothers Band's at the Peach Music Festival in Scranton, Pa., in August of this year.
We spoke with the gravelly voiced drummer to get the low-down on the tour and new album.
Q: How does this band differ from the The Allman Brothers Band's?
A : We have horns, we don't have two guitar players, and one drummer and we are not loud. It's a little different because of the instrumentation.
Q: Which of your musical influences factor most into this band's sound?
A: I guess what I have been playing all my life; blues, rhythm and blues, jazz.
Q: Do you still play with the Allman Brothers as part of the band?
A: Yeah, we just played the Peach Music Festival in Scranton, Pa., about two months ago. And that was the end of that tour which started July 8th. We did six days with Carlos Santana, and the three days at that Scranton, Pa., That was a nice little tour with Carlos.
Q: How did you like playing with Carlos (Santana?)
A:The playing was fine, but I was not as knocked about the playing as I was about the vibration between the musicians. It was really something. Somebody else might say something different, but people see things different. The vibration between the people that was on that tour was just absolutely incredible, I mean that's the way musicians, real musicians has been as far as I have seen in the movies and stuff, and since I used to hang around old men (musicians) down at the beach. That's were I am right now, I'm in Mississippi, down in Biloxi were I grew up at.
Q: What was it like playing with Otis Redding?
A: I played with Otis about five months or something. I joined Otis Redding's band in April 18, 1966, and I played with him through September 5th, 1966. It was a lot of fun playing with Otis.I have always wondered what it would have been like to have seen Otis singing with the Allman Brothers band. I think he would have loved the music, the stuff that we did, the music that we played. I think we could have done a lot for James Brown too, because James Brown didn't use his drummer the way we play. As a matter of fact, I have never seen anyone that plays the way Butch (Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band) and I play. We never had any drum rehearsals , we worked out parts, we sat down one day.
Q: Is it easier to tour now than when you were younger?
A: Yes and No. Yes because I know more about what I'm doing now, and I'm not sidetracked by smoking pot and bunch of other sh*t that don't make any sense.
Q: So what kind of groupies are you getting these days?
A: I never had any trouble with the groupies. They didn't bother me, and I didn't bother them. It's funny because all the singers and the guitar players get all the girls. In rhythm and blues bands the drummers got a lot of girls, but it never happened to me.
Q: Do you do any kind of workout to help you physically to play the drums?
A: I have been playing drums for 52 years. All I need to do is sit down and play the drums. That's all I need to do.
Q: Have you played on one of those music Blues Cruise?
A: No, but I told CJ, my manager I wanted to, like, 2 months ago, but we have not got invited to one yet.