Inspiration from the Church and the Lounge: Junius Paul

Now known for his distinctive rhythmic contributed to ensembles as different as the Art Ensemble of Chicago (AEC) and those lead by drummer Makaya McCraven, double bass player Junius Paul tells Chicago magazine’s Areif Sless-Kitain that his inspiration comes from two, perhaps contradictory, sources. They’re the result of his two decades plus playing bass in his local church and his experience in the house band at the now defunct Velvet Lounge, the legendary south-side club run by the late tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson. Along with the great number of well-known musicians who participated in the club’s Sunday night jam sessions, including Paul’s mentor drummer Vincent Davis, as he discovered during church services, the bassist would find the music lifting all the players higher and higher without a comedown. Those experiences and others made him confident enough to now tour with the likes of veterans such as the AEC’s multi-reedist Roscoe Mitchell and percussionist Famoudou Don Moye.