George “Chocolate” Perry Interview: “Latimore Asked If Could Play, And I Started The Next Night”

                                                                                                                                          ©Jacob Katel

“When I first met Latimore, it was on the basis of there was a bass gig opening up. JJ, little short JJ, the bass player for the Oceanliners, he was playing bass for Latimore, and he was moving on, he was leaving, and that position was opening up. I got wind of it maybe through Robert Ferguson, who was also out at TK doing sessions. I didn’t audition per se, but I went to stand backstage and to check out Latimore and the band’s set and see what I could be getting into, what I would be getting into. This was at The Castaway’s, on Miami Beach Castaways Hotel or Motel, it was a resort place on Miami Beach on 163rd St and Collins Ave. It was a huge place, Latimore was a house band there. He and Freddie Scott was there playing drums, Warren “Roach” Thompson was playin guitar, and JJ was playing bass.

Latimore was out front playing keyboards and melodica and singing and stuff, and I actually just stood backstage and listened. I was a little kid of about 16 years old and I just wanted to understand what was going on. Understand what I was saying yes to, or what I was applying for.

I met Latimore during a break, and JJ said, “This is Chocolate. He’s a bass player. He’s really good…” and yadda yadda.

JJ knew me because I was playing in a different band called The Soulsters, Mike Washington and The Soulsters which later on became Rick Washington and The Soulsters, and we were very good. We were about as good as the Oceanliners at that time. We were from the northern side of Miami. We were the Hollywood band that was the baddest band on the planet. They were the Miami band that was the baddest band on the planet. So we kind of knew of each other in passing from gigs.

They would go in somewhere to play, and we’d be like, “Ey wassup man!”

So I met Latimore and I think he asked me could I play the set or did I hear what was going on, and I said, “Yeah man, it’s really cool. I think I can do that stuff.” Blues stuff. They were playing jazz and blues. This is way before “Let’s Straighten It Out” and “Qualified Man” and all of that stuff. So then I moved from Hollywood to be closer to the band’s situation, meaning that I moved in with Warren Thompson for a week, studied the set with him in his house, and when JJ was leaving the end of that week I knew the set and I started that next night.”

 

  • From a 2017 interview with George “Chocolate” Perry

 

Article ©Jacob Katel and ©Henry Stone Music USA Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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