After Six presents music of 1940s and '50s


The tunes of the 1940s and '50s aren't heard much anymore. They seem to be disappearing from the music scene, says Mack Jackson of the band After Six, which specializes in music from that period.

"Without apology, we play the old standards from the '40s and '50s - the ballads and standards from that period of time, with a little added new twist to it," says Jackson, tenor saxophonist for the group.

"I think we're the only group around here that plays this era music. Some groups play some of the music, but we have this as the main part of the performance. ... I know that music is going to disappear with time. What we like to do is expose people to it one more time."

He says everyone in the group loves the music in the band's repertoire.

"We are hoping that by playing it, we're getting people to be more familiar with it," Jackson says. "There's been a resurgence of it in movies now ... especially Woody Allen movies. He'll draw from that era musically. And people love it.


"That's our mission - to revive that music."

Jackson says the music of the early '40s ties in with World War II.

"It has a lot of emotion. There are themes of separation and hope, that people would meet again, and the heartbreak of losing people and families separated by war. There are some wonderful musicians and lyricists that were able to put that to music.

"Over the years, the music and words have endured. They still have special meaning, even today, with people who have family members in Iraq. The songs, if listened to, the wording in them is as important as the music."

Performing Thursday in Weisiger Park

After Six, which will perform in Weisiger Park Thursday, has been together five or six years, Jackson estimates. Other members include Stuart Powell on drums, although Eben David Henson will be the drummer Thursday; Steve Smothers on electric bass; and Janelle Dishman on piano. "And hopefully we're adding to our band John Pope on trombone," notes Jackson. "He also plays piano, and is a well-known jazz person here in town."

Jackson says Pope recently did a little singing for the group at a rehearsal, and "he has a fantastic voice." Coletta Jones also sang at a recent rehearsal. "John and Coletta complement each other," Jackson says.

The name After Six was chosen because most of the band's gigs happened in the evenings. Gigs have included small gatherings, private parties, weddings, benefits, and performances at Two Roads Cafe and the Danville Country Club.

Although he and the other band members maintain busy schedules, they love getting together and performing. Jackson says there is no challenge for him to maintain a work schedule and a band schedule.

"It's an opportunity to do something I've wanted do a long time," he explains. "Actually, you make time to do the things you want to do. You don't wait to find the time - you make time to do it.

"I played in band in high school, and there was a long hiatus when I didn't play. Then Janelle became available (to play in a band), and our first drummer was Joe Anderson."

Anderson suffered a stroke, which prevented him from staying with After Six.

"But he's playing the drums again, and we'll have a private gig with him soon. We're looking forward to that."

Those attending the Whimsy in Weisiger concert by After Six might hear music with which they are not familiar, especially if they're of a younger generation.

"They can listen and see what they think," Jackson says. "And for people like myself and maybe a little younger, they can hear music that they no longer hear played anymore."

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