This weekend, Cincinnatians will be invited to celebrate the life of a true local legend.
On Sunday, July 17, a celebration of iconic Cincinnati musician Philip Paul will take place in Washington Park. The 96-year-old died on January 30, 2022.
Paul was a legendary drummer and musician, having performed on over 350 recordings for Cincinnati’s King Records during his time as a session drummer from the early 1950s through the mid-1960s and beyond. He even created the beat for Hank Ballard’s “The Twist” (more popular after Dick Clark’s friend Chubby Checker performed it on American bandstand), and played on the first recording of “Train Kept A-Rollin'” while drumming for the Tiny Bradshaw Orchestra.
The famous local musician also played on Little Willie John’s “Fever”, Freddie King’s “Hideaway” (a huge influence on 60s electric guitarists like Eric Clapton and Peter Frampton) and Charles’ “Please Come Home For Christmas”. Brown (now a Christmas standard). He also performed with Grand Ole Opry star Cowboy Copas and toured the country to the best jazz clubs of the day. Jazz legend Duke Ellington once even asked him to join his band.
In his later years, Paul was one of the key figures (alongside fellow King Records artists Otis Williams and Bootsy Collins) involved in advocating for the revitalization of the King Records buildings on Brewster Avenue in Evanston and preservation of the label’s heritage. His advocacy ultimately led to the creation of a “historic marker, designation as a local landmark, and the city’s acquisition of the King Properties in Evanston,” according to a press release. More recently, the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board approved the nomination of the King Records complex for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
“Mr. Philip Paul was an accomplished professional backing musician in the studio, on the road and as an educator,” Kent Butts, chairman of the board and executive director of the King Records Legacy Foundation, said in a statement. career of working with a huge range of top artists and new artists in multiple styles.He and his ilk are one of the main reasons I have dedicated my life’s work to the legacy of King Records and the universal language of music!He was a very close friend and will be greatly missed, but never forgotten!
In honor of his 96 years of life, the celebration in Washington Park will include 96 minutes of jazz and blues tributes, as well as 96 serigraphs of the mural featuring Paul, Williams and Collins. Jazz and blues sets feature musicians who have played with Paul. Oral tributes about Paul and his legacy will take place during the event. Guests will also be able to pick up free copies of Paul’s albums “It’s About Time” and “Live at the Cincinnatian.”
The event is free and takes place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 17 at Washington Park (1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine). More information about Paul and his lasting legacy in Cincinnati and beyond can be found by visiting kingrecords.org.
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