Kashmere Stage Band

It's been well-told by now, especially in Mark Landsman's 2010 documentary Thunder Soul (presented by Jamie Foxx), but the Kashmere Stage Band's story never gets old. So here it is again: Alumni of Kashmere High School's Stage Band, actual students who put out several LPs of high-energy jazz/funk fusion in the '70s that eventually became staples in hip-hop DJs' crates, gathered in February 2008 for a tribute concert to their beloved band director and mentor, Dr. Conrad "Prof" Johnson. Landsman's cameras were rolling, and Johnson passed away two days later. The group, now composed of KHS alumni and a few current students, reunited to promote the film at various film festivals in 2010 and '11...and basically stuck around. They closed Society for the Performing Arts' Houston blues tribute "Preserving a Legacy" at Jones Hall in February; bandleader Bruce Middleton's demonstration of "circular breathing" during signature tune "All Praises" was a showstopper. If anything, the KSB's tale is even more heartwarming now that they pop up on the nightclub calendar now and again like any other act, but if for some reason you can't make it Saturday, the Thunder Soul DVD is also available on Amazon.


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