The many faces at Koinonia Friday Forum

Gubernatorial candidate, Johnny Dupree, recently spoke at Koinonia Friday Forum

Every Friday at 9 a.m., people from all walks of life gather to learn and to linger at the Koinonia Friday Forum. The forum takes place at the cozy Koinonia Coffee House at 136 S. Adams Street in West Jackson and has evolved from a small gathering of people interested in discussing ways to improve West Jackson to a venue packed with people who are eager to hear the latest happenings in the capital city.

Koinonia Friday Forum was started by West Jackson businessman, Dr. Bill Cooley, and features a different speaker every week–each presenting a unique topic that always relates to was of improving the city. Attendees sip on coffee (or in my case, lattes) and anxiously engage in dialogue with the featured speaker. Forums are sponsored by the Jackson Chamber of Commerce.

One person who has become a regular at Koinonia Friday Forums is Jeffrey Yentz. Jeffrey is an architect with Jackson-based Dean and Dean and he can make pen and ink drawings like none other. I was actually introduced to his artwork before I met him. One day, Megan Voos, a barista at Koinonia, held up a napkin and asked “do you know who drew this?” Of course, I didn’t know, but the drawing was a really cool replica of the coffee house’s logo. Over the weeks, more mysterious drawings popped up after the forum until we finally spotted the talented person responsible for them–Jeffrey Yentz.

It turns out that Jeffrey writes narratives that go along with his story–and they are very educational! He was kind enough to allow us to share a drawing and narrative with you here. Take care, and we hope to see at Koinonia Friday Forum in the near future! If you can’t make it to the forum, feel free to stop by Koinonia Coffee House when you get a chance. It’s a very quaint spot and has great things to offer on their menu.

Drawing by Jeffrey Yentz

There are not that many blues saxaphonists that roll off the tongue.

Benjamin Clarence “Bull Moose” Jackson is one such person.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio (April 22, 1919) Benjamin learned to play the saxaphone in high school and formed his first band; The Harlem Hotshots. About five years after graduation, he was recruited by bandleader Lucky Millinder to join his group.  The fellow musicians did not know what to make of this tall, lanky young man with a noticeable space between his two front teeth.  As part of their teasing Jackson they gave him the nickname “Bull Moose”.  Benjamin took the ribbing in stride and continued to play the saxaphone until he was called upon to become a singer as well (when he stood in for Wynonie Harris during a Texas show).

In 1946, Jackson was signed by King records where he recorded his own song, “I know Who Threw The Whiskey” that he penned in response to Millinder’s song, “Who Threw The Whiskey in The Well”. A year later Jackson’s song “I Love You, yes I Do” reputedly became the first million selling R&B single. The single held the number one R&B spot for three weeks and reached number 24 on the pop chart as well.

In 1948 he formed The Buffalo Bearcats and for the next five years recorded in a variety of styles ranging from romantic crooning to jump blues (“I Want A Bowlegged Woman”) to the more risque (“Big Ten Inch Record” and “Nosey Joe”).

[NOTE:  “Big Ten Inch Record” and “Nosey Joe” were considered too suggestive for airplay and were banned from rotation.]

Bull Moose continued to perform and record through the 1950s but musical tastes changed and the lack of earning a decent earning as a musician forced him into working for a catering company in Washington, D.C.

In 1979, (in part because of Aerosmith’s minor success with Bull’s “Big Ten Inch Record”) and the times changing back to an interest in his type of music jackson got back into performing again.  In the early 1980s Jackson hooked up with a Pittsburgh R&B revival band; The Flashcats and began performing and recording again.  Unfortunatley, Bull’s health began to fail and in July 1989 he died of lung cancer.

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