The Kashmere Stage Band formed in a predominantly black high school in Kashmere, Texas in 1969, under the direction of Conrad O. Johnson, known to the kids as ‘Prof’. Just as African-Americans had emerged out of the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s, they saw the 70s as their time to shine, to pay homage to the generation that made opportunities possible – like the opportunity to be in a first class band so extraordinary that, although composed of teens, won best stage band in America two years in a row. This is their story, told 35 years later for the purpose of reforming as a tribute to the frail, 92-year-old Prof.
The reunion is heart-warming and full of emotion, as every member travels from across the world back to the very same band room that they escaped to so long ago, away from the streets and away from trouble and into the hands of Prof – a man who taught the fatherless to be a men and became a patriarchal figure to the entire group. The resulting sound is a phenomenal mix of funk-led jazz, every work created by Prof and recorded onto LPs that are best-selling collectors’ items today. The group’s success took them to unimaginable places, first beating all-white bands across America, and then accepting invites to be treated as bona fide artists across Europe and Japan, lighting up every stage they danced across.
The reunion is a spiritual time as they dust off untouched trombones and stroll misty-eyed down memory lane, and this documentary captures unfathomable events that will move every single viewer, fans of soul and funk or not.
Friday 18 June, 20.20, Cineworld
Saturday 19 June, 15.45, Cineworld