We are pleased to welcome local Jazz Great Benny Poole and his family as our newest residents here in Walnut Ridge.
Benny is not only very well known in the Jackson area, but throughout the professional jazz community and even as far as England who recognize the form of music that Benny recorded in the 60’s as “Northern Soul”.
From his early childhood, music was always a part of his life. The memories of his mother, Laila Lorraine Poole Dawkins playing piano stirred up the music potential in him that later produced the music we know today as “Benny Poole”. He was also inspired by Wardell Gray a saxophone player whose style was ahead of his time, and adopted by many horn players to come. He was responsible for Benny’s choice of instrument being a sax.
He has always recognized special talent as it came long in this life by being the first to use so many musicians and singers, before their names were famous. Abby Lincoln, singer and actress of Jackson; Gene Harris, piano; Alvin Jones, drummer; Lymon Woodard, organ; Jackie Wilson, singer; Clare Fischer, piano; Bob Hammer, piano, composer and arranger, just to name a few. In short, if Benny says you have talent, you better take it serious!
Benny’s natural love of music and people is a winning combination for success. From his early start as a “big band” to many various combos over the years to today, playing music solo most of the time.
Benny gives back by playing countless benefits for others and even helps businesses get started and playing during the hard times too.
In his young 80’s, Benny is a very active individual and is still performing a few times a month in the Jackson area, throughout Michigan including Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, cruise ships, and even international gigs in Acapulco.
Benny has graciously accepted our invitation to play at this year’s Resident Appreciation Picnic. Residents will hear first hand Benny’s music style of jazz with a soulful, blues approach.