Stax Records’ soul man Booker T. Jones returns to music

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After four Grammys and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Booker T. Jones is back home with Stax Records with his newest album Sound the Alarm.

Motown Records is usually the place that comes to a music lover’s mind when they think of classic 1960’s soul music. But Detroit wasn’t the only famous city to house a ground breaking record label. Stax Records located in Memphis, Tennessee was home to some soulful hit makers as well; Booker T. Jones was just one of many pioneering acts to emerge from the musical hot spot.

Booker T. Jones began his music career in 1962 when he was the lead in Booker T. and the MGs. From there, Jones progressed as a musician, producer, song writer, and arranger for music legends such as Otis Redding, Bill Withers, and Bob Dylan.

While growing up in Memphis, Jones was constantly around music. Ray Charles was his idol and he wanted to emulate Charles’ sound. Booker T. reminisced, “I remember when I heard a song arranged by Quincy Jones called ‘Mint Julep’. It was that moment I said to myself, that is what I want to do with my life.”

Booker T. also believes his music training is what separates his signature sound and style from other artists. Although his mother gave him piano lessons, he taught himself how to play the oboe, saxophone, ukulele and trombone at a very young age. “I also had a great instructor who taught me how to play the organ,” said the music virtuoso. “She taught me time signature, key signature and the feeling of music.”

In addition to having worked with music icons of the past, Booker T. has also and collaborated with modern day music acts such as ?uestlove of The Roots.

On his upcoming album, Sound the Alarm, Jones presents features from Estelle, Sheila E. and Anthony Hamilton. Jones and Hamilton first met after he (Jones) won his first Grammy. After several other meetings he felt he should have the singer featured on the album. Booker T. stated, “There are many people in the industry I admire, but none I could say reminds me of myself besides Anthony Hamilton.”

Despite having an impressive career that spans five decades, Booker T. Jones has yet to work with one of his favorite artists. The Grammy award winning musician said, “I’ve been on the same stage as Stevie Wonder, but it would be great to do a record with him.”

Sound the Alarm will be available for purchase on June 25, 2013.

Check out Booker T. Jone’s new cut, “66 Impala” featuring Sheila E. and Poncho Sanchez exclusively on TheGrio.