Q&A with Charles Lloyd

Charles Lloyd was born in Memphis on March 15, 1938. In his formative years he played with B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, and Johnny Ace, among many others. It was a time of mentoring under Phineas Newborn Jr. and with the strains of Willie Mitchell’s horn in his ears, Lloyd left for California and USC before making his way to New York. His 1966 album Forest Flower: Live at Monterey became a sensation and was one of the first jazz albums to sell a million copies. Along this meteoric rise, he was asked to play the Tallinn Jazz Festival in the Soviet Union in 1967 and his quartet was the first jazz group to play the storied Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. At the height of his career, in the early 1970s, he walked away from it all, retreating to Big Sur to lead a reclusive life. In the past years he’s come out of that self-imposed exile to again tour the country and the world. He is the subject of the 2012 documentary Arrows Into Infinity, was named an NEA Jazz Master earlier this year, and was invited last month to Rhodes College to work with students and to perform at the Levitt Shell. This interview about his early life in Memphis took place in his suite at the Madison Hotel with a view of the Mississippi River.READ MORE


Signing off on my final column, and still laughing at my kids

After more than seven years and somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 columns, I feel it’s time for me to turn my attention elsewhere and focus on other work and expanded ideas. This will be my last column, and I wanted to use this space to thank all of you for so many years of reading, for the emails you’ve sent and the stories you’ve shared about your own children or your own childhood as we stood side by side questioning the number of cereal options at Kroger.READ MORE


Kids must find their own way to the right path

Talk turned, as it generally will, to the folly and flaws in raising children. The women sitting on a Midtown porch last week had children in ages that ran from toddler to my oldest, a senior in high school, and talk ran to the transition from the indiscretions of a child to those of a teenager; how the innocent fibs of the child become the lies of the teen.READ MORE

Richard J. Alley, author of Five Night Stand

Shootings, driving provide plenty to worry about

When my oldest son turned 15, we went to the empty parking lot of the Liberty Bowl to allow him to become comfortable and confident behind the wheel of a car. Weeks later, when we both felt the time was right, he eased the car onto the city road, taking back streets to get the feel of driving in traffic. He studied the driving manual and took a test at a government facility to obtain a driver’s permit. Many more months of him driving with me or his mother would follow before he went back to that government facility to take a road test with a trained professional. At 17, he is subject by law to a restricted driving arrangement for another year.READ MORE


Mid-South Book Festival overcomes the odds

For the number of problems Memphis is said to have, we don’t deserve the arts scene that we have.” So said Dan Conaway, public relations stalwart, city bard, and a cousin of mine. We were talking among a group of writers at the recent Well Read Reception, the party to kick off what, by all accounts, was a rousingly successful Mid-South Book Festival. Put on by Literacy Mid-South, an organization whose mission it is to stamp out illiteracy in our area, the weekend welcomed 80 authors and 5,000 attendees.READ MORE