Memphis soul music legend and 2002 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Isaac Hayes was excited to perform at the 2003 Charlie Christian International Jazz Festival at Remington Park in Oklahoma City. And what a spectacular show it was for fans who attended the June 7 show.
Hayes was the main headliner along with world-renowned jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis.
“Performing here is like hallowed ground,” Hayes said. “Those guys … all those blues artists … they’re my roots. They were the roots of rhythm and blues. And when you add gospel, it turns into soul. So, it’s a great thing. A lot of artists today need to know their roots. They would be better grounded if they knew that.”
The musician not only changed the face of American music with his innovative sound (“Shaft”, “Walk on By”, “Never Can Say Goodbye”), but his fashionable statement and regal demeanor embodied African culture. In recent years, Hayes ignited attention toward soul music with the opening of Soulsville, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Stax Music Academy in Memphis, his hometown. He deeply supported his religion and took a stand when it was ridiculed on the TV show “South Park.”
For me, it was a pleasure to meet Hayes, who was not only down-to-earth, but our correspondence continued long after the last note was played on-stage.
Although we may mourn the loss of a great legend, Hayes’ legacy will be remembered for his many endeavors, including an appearance in the upcoming film, “Soul Men”. I can see Isaac working feverishly on the piano on the next song.
Rest in peace.
Natasha Mitchell, Online Editor