Arts & Entertainment

SOPAC Performer Booker T. Says Music, Not Medicine, Was His True Calling

d0459dc72d8ee83e53da_Booker_T._Jones.jpg
Booker T. Jones will perform Saturday, March 2 at the South Orange Performing Arts Center.
d0459dc72d8ee83e53da_Booker_T._Jones.jpg

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – It’s hard to believe that Booker T. Jones originally wanted to be a doctor. That's right – it was only after Jones realized he was not proficient enough in chemistry and biology to work in medicine that he decided to pursue his love of music.

Jones’ decision has earned him four Grammys, an induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and the opportunity to perform in many different places, including South Orange, which he remembers as “a beautiful place.” He said he looks forward to returning on Saturday, March 2 when he brings his music to the South Orange Performing Arts Center.

“My music means an inestimable amount (to me) at this point in my life and also earlier in my life,” Jones said. “It means more to me now because it seems to mean something to other people as well. It’s just something that has defined my life from the time that I decided I wasn’t good enough to become a doctor.”

Sign Up for E-News

What makes Jones’s music different from most other performers’ is its timelessness. The songs of Booker T. and the M.G.s have been enjoyed by people from the 1960s through 2013, and they have even been sampled by popular modern artists (Jones’ favorite is Jay Z and Kanye West’s take on Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness,” which featured Booker T. and the M.G.’s as background musicians). Jones said the reason his work is still appreciated today is its accessibility.

“The music comes from a place that people can relate to no matter what age they are,” he said. “It’s simple and easy to listen to.”

According to Jones, the music of Booker T. and the M.G.s came to be almost by accident. While still in high school, Jones was a member of the Stax Records house band with the M.G.s. When an artist either finished a session early or never showed up (Jones cannot remember which), the group took advantage of the empty studio and recorded the song “Behave Yourself,” which Stax wanted to release. “Green Onions” followed, and a hit album was born.

But for Jones, “Green Onions” was much more than a successful album – it provided the means to achieve his goal of a college education. Though he said many people asked him not to attend Indiana University following the success of the album, Jones is grateful that he did.

“I think my music career was enhanced as the years went by,” Jones said. “As I studied composition at Indiana, and as I studied conducting and orchestra and theory, those elements went into the songs I recorded at Stax and with the M.G.s.”

Jones said his proudest accomplishment was when his alma mater presented him with an honorary doctorate degree. For Jones, who remembers how much trouble he had just getting accepted into the university, speaking at the same school where he was a student was like coming full circle.

“That symbolized that I’m a person who knows a lot about music, and that’s really gratifying to me,” Jones said.

His SOPAC show will feature songs from Booker T. and the M.G.s, his solo career, his time in the Stax house band and his years as a producer. Of course, audiences will also most likely get to hear Jones' favorite – “Green Onions.”

“Hopefully I’ll be able to give them an experience that they won’t be able to get anyplace else,” he said. “They’ll hear music that’s sincere and unique and enjoyable, and hopefully it’ll be a good evening for them to relax and let go of some troubles… and just listen to some good music.”

Tickets are $35 and $45 for the general public and $30 and $40 for SOPAC members. They can be purchased by calling 973-313-2787 or going to http://www.sopacnow.org/509/booker-t-jones. For more information on Booker T. Jones visit http://www.bookert.com/.    

The reporter is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

Columbia High School Principal's Removal Raises More Questions Than It Answers

The last Twitter post from Columbia High School principal Elizabeth Aaron is very telling. 

The four-year CHS schools chief, who was recently, surprisingly, reassigned to a vague “Principal on Special Assignment” post by the school district, was a Twitter regular on her @CougarPrincipal account. There she would often promote the school’s successes and notable staff and ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Robberies Reported on July 5

July 15, 2018

July 2 - Motor Vehicle Theft; Sometime over the previous two days, a U-Haul truck was stolen from a business on Newark Way.

July 4 - Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours an unsecured vehicle parked on Elberta Rd was entered and keys were stolen from it.

July 5 - Robberies; At approximately 1:30 a.m., a male was assaulted by two males ridding bicycles while he was walking on ...

Free 'Movies in the Park' on July 18 and August 23 in Maplewood

July 16, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Free "Movies in the Park" are planned for Wednesday, July 18, and Thursday, August 23, a program hosted by the Maplewood Police Department in conjunction with the Maplewood Recreation Department, the Maplewood Office of Cultural Affairs, SOMA Film Festival and SOMA Municipal Alliance.

The movie on July 18 will be The Incredibles, shown in Dehart Park, ...

National Weather Service Issues Heat Advisory Through 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 17

NEW YORK, NY, - The National Weather Service issued a 'Heat Advisory' this morning for Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Union and Hudson Counties in New Jersey. The heat advisory will remain in effect from noon Monday July 16, until 6 p.m. Tuesday July 17.

Extreme heat can cause illness and death among at- risk population who cannot stay cool. The heat and humidity may cause heat stress during ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b20a8250917845925251_mini_magick20180715-93558-18g5bx1

Tue, July 17, 5:00 PM

Caldwell University Alumni Theater, Caldwell

Public Invited to Essex County Opioid Use ...

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_7611ce284a8c86d65b64_37d34f9a-c5cd-4fb1-8bf8-b5b7319cb94e

Wed, July 18, 10:00 AM

Paterson Board of Education , Paterson

Teacher Job Fair in Paterson

Education

Carousel_image_982bc8344531b1a37c85_par_440

Fri, July 20, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Carousel_image_af1b89eae735bf536426_par440_promo

Fri, July 20, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Statement From Emergency Committee to Reinstate Principal Aaron

July 10, 2018

** TUESDAY RALLY IS CANCELLED **

We created a movement. We leveraged our collective 1,600 voices and forced the District leadership to sit with us today [Monday] and discuss the poorly communicated, weekend announcement that CHS Principal Elizabeth Aaron was being reassigned.

Our meeting was a first step in both accountability and transparency as Dr. Ficarra revealed Principal ...

Coalition on Race Responds to Changes in School District Administrators

The Board of Trustees of the Community Coalition on Race seeks racial equity, integration, and excellence in education for all students in our schools. While the pace of change has been frustratingly slow, we have seen some progress. Yet, candidly, there are too many students of color who are not well served in SOMA, who still experience segregated classrooms and who still suffer from racial ...

3rd Annual Newark International Film Festival Accepting Submissions

July 12, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Three days filled with celebrity guests and showcases from both local and international filmmakers are coming to the city in September.

The third annual Newark International Film Festival will return Sept. 6 and run through Sept. 9, 2018. The festival has grown each year since it was first created, with the city last year hosting 10,000 attendees seeing films across ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters here.

It’s one of two ordinances that were approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

Union Police Pursuit Ends in Crash in Irvington

July 17, 2018

NEWARK, NJ – Union police were involved in an early morning vehicle pursuit that ended in a crash and serious injuries to two juveniles in Irvington on Monday.

According to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office is in the early stages of investigating the police pursuit that has resulted in two juveniles sustaining serious ...

Downtown Scotch Plains May Eventually Look Like Princeton, According to Redevelopment Committee Feedback

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Residents who attended the Scotch Plains Downtown Redevelopment Committee (SPDRC) meeting on Wednesday night got a peak into what the future of the township will look like… and it looks a lot like Princeton.

Tom Strowe, the Township’s Project Coordinator for Redevelopment, presented findings of the recent survey on architectural styles. More than 2,100 ...

New Plumber Joins the Woolley Home Solutions Team

July 16, 2018

We are excited to announce a new addition to the Woolley team! Our new plumber, Oscar Buonafina, is an expert plumber with nearly a decade of industry experience serving New Jersey homeowners. He is also a NJ Master Plumber Since 2007. As a military veteran, Oscar truly understands hard work and commitment, and we’re so happy to bring him on board!

"I believe in service to people ...

Maplewood Brings Local Youth to the Governing Table With the Youth Advisory Committee

The Maplewood Township Committee cordially invites diverse student residents of Maplewood who are enrolled in private or public school in grades 8 through 12 to apply to serve on its new Youth Advisory Committee.  In order to continue empowering local youth whose recent advocacy on - gun safety, safe schools, voting rights, immigration, greater institutional equity and inclusion, to name a ...

Repairs to Boyden Avenue Between Elmwood Avenue and Springfield Avenue

On Monday, July 16, road repairs to the south side of Boyden Avenue between Elmwood Avenue and Springfield Avenue will take place for approximately one week pending weather conditions. There will be access to the pool parking lot for pool members and NJ Transit employees. Signage and police officers will be present to direct traffic.