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RIP Jackie Ivory

I was sad to hear that the great B3 organist, Jackie Ivory, passed away this week. I am extremely blessed to have met and play music with him. Here is a sound clip and a blog post from August 2009 where I discuss the Jazz Crusaders with Mr. Ivory, Billy Stix Nicks, and John the guitar player.

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From 8/17/09:

This weekend I was blessed to play music with the Billy Nicks Jazz Quartet above. Legendary B3 organist Jackie Ivory is pictured on the left. John the guitar player is in the center and Billy “Stix” Nicks and myself are in the background.

Obviously it was amazing to play with these great musicians, but the thing that I’m going to remember the most about the experience is just talking to these men who were actually living as professional musicians during the Civil Rights Movement.

A conversation about the band, The Jazz Crusaders, and their song “Way Back Home” turned into a passionate personal testimony by Mr. Nicks on discrimination in the music industry. The audio clip above captures that conversation with the Crusaders version of “Way Back Home” playing in the background.

You’ll hear the four of us talk about white musicians profiting on songs by black musicians, and the ways black musicians had to market themselves to make money. For example, the Crusaders took the “Jazz” off of their name so they didn’t sound “too black”, and many black artists wouldn’t put pictures of themselves on album covers so they could make more money.

Note: the Marvin Gaye album that we talk about with the white couple on the beach was actually the Isley Brothers album “This Old Heart of Mine”.

Enjoy the recording! The soft-spoken man with the awesome laugh is Jackie Ivory. The man who has a voice that sounds “stoner-ish” is John the guitar player (sorry John if you are reading this I don’t mean it as an insult). I’m the doofy and naive sounding one, and Billy Nicks is the passionate one.

Jackie Ivory, Billy Stix Nicks, John the guitar player, and Matt Merten perform at Trio's in South Bend, Indiana in 2009.Isley Brothers white couple on beach