Cop, and blow!

One of my most memorable conversations with Paul involved solo transcriptions. I had done a few(Dexter Gordon, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis), but he was adamant about their importance. Everyone borrows from everyone, he assured me, so start copping licks right now. "Cop, and blow. Cop, and Blow!"
It is how I'll always remember him. A trusted friend with whom I could share the most esoteric musical ideas; an experienced adviser who, more often than not, had actually worked with the musicians in question.
Paul and I were already acquainted, but in 2000 when he showed up as a sub to play with the Jack Buzzards, it was one of those moments when sounds cascaded from the heavens, and the legendary "pocket" drumming of Paul Lagos became permanently clear to me. It foreshadowed the formation of the Beau Koo Jacks two years later, for he was always the ideal drummer--jazz players are perfectly suited to New Orleans music.
And so the project--and the adventure--began. I made the best of the opportunity to work closely with Paul by handling all the business aspects
of the BKJ, and allow him to to (duh) what he does best. Pairing him with
great bass players like the late, great J.D. Sykes and J.R. Hartley made this a wonderful experience and a DEEP groovin' band.
And, thanks to Paul, the band continues to this day. It has the same kind of unstoppable momentum he had, and because it's New Orleans-based,
its spirit is everlasting.
And the personality and spirit of the unique Mr. Lagos couldn't have been more evident the day of J.D.'s funeral in September '08. (I still tear up when I recall telling him the news about J.D. There was a closeness, and the tone of his voice was like a clergyman.) Well, the service was all but over and the casket had been closed, and in walked Paul, somewhat dissheveled in a suit and tie. I can't even remember how he got the time wrong, but I'll never forget when he and (BKJ singer) John Eric Thiede managed to RE-OPEN the casket and create an
indelible scene of love, mourning, and friendship as they stood over him
in one last, poignant moment. It is how I'll always think of Paul and his amazing soul.

697 views and 4 responses

  • Nov 19 2009, 1:00 AM
    randulo responded:
    Great story and appreciation of Paul. He scared a lot of insecure musicians, they couldn't handle it. They didn't see it. No, they didn't hear it.
  • Nov 19 2009, 2:30 PM
    Tom Zosel responded:
    Thanks, Randy. This is all so much about Paul I totally forgot to take credit for this story. Well, time to cop and blow some more....
  • Nov 19 2009, 3:11 PM
    Anne responded:
    Excellent performance at The Artists's Quarter. Thanks!
  • Nov 19 2009, 4:43 PM
    Nick Lagos responded:

    Well - you surely learned how to cop and blow because blow you did - at the Artist's Quarter on Sunday night, you blew the roof off the place - it was like mild mannered Clark Kent (Tom Zosel) went into the phone booth and came out as Hank Mobley.

    Seriously - you were excellent and I loved the Beau Koo Jacks - that was some real playing and thanks for loving my brother too!