John Cephas was memorialized right this Sunday. It was a two parter, first a formal ceremony at the Smithsonian. It was heavy with high power speakers (Bill Wax, Joe Wilson, & Nick Spitzer) & players (longtime partner Phil Wiggins, Daryl Davis, Eleanor Ellis, David & Linda Lay, and Corey Harris). It was fun, often touching, and at time funny.
Later folks gathered at the Westminster Presby Church to continue the celebration with a Jam as John had wished. There were constantly rotating groups. Warner Williams was holding court out front for a while when Annie Raines hopped in, fresh off the train from Boston. Mary Flower (from Oregon) was inside on stage jamming with Phil, Eleanor Ellis, & Andra Fay. But there weren't all big names around playing, you couldn't throw a brick without it ricochetting off a guitarist and flattening a harp player. One of the coolest moments came in discovering an impromptu a-cappella group clogging up the stairwell; it started with do whop and continued into gospel. Gaye Adegbalola was in the midst of that bunch, but it continued on even after the Saffire bus pulled out.
John wanted to make sure acoustic blues continued on. And I think he's done a masterful job. And his friends came out to show it was so...
Check it out for yourself, there are already a few YouTube videos up.