Catching Up With Advisor Leslie Drayton

Leslie Drayton has been an advisor to Live Music Movement Foundation (LMMF) since inception of the organization in July 2011. He has helped to set policy and provide direction. He and his former band ‘Fun’ performed at the first LMMF musical event, A Sunday Jazz Party, on December 4, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  This collaboration and performance allowed LMMF to gain immediate audience acceptance and financial support because of Leslie Drayton’s musical renown in the Los Angeles area and beyond.

In November 2016, Live Music Movement Foundation’s inaugural musical event marked both LMMF and Leslie Drayton and ‘Few Regrets’ presence in Houston. Hosted at ALJ Jazz Bar and Lounge in Downtown Houston, the event was said by one patron to be, “refreshing…organic and very well…orchestrated.” And it’s no wonder with Kathy Drayton founder and chairperson at the helm of the organization and Leslie Drayton on the advisory committee.

The event was another step forward in LMMF’s mission to present music in environments where dancing and socializing is encouraged to generate continuing interest. Advisor Drayton again provided invaluable direction and support to LMMF with this musical event.

Since the inaugural Houston musical event, the advisor and chairperson have been searching the city for venues to perform and identify musicians with a similar passion to move the music forward. It has been quite an endeavor but they believe they are on the right track promote original, entertaining live music in the city of Houston.

Catching up with Advisor Leslie Drayton

Prior to ‘Leslie Drayton and Few Regrets’, the former band was ‘Leslie Drayton and Fun.’ Explain the new name and its significance to Leslie Drayton’s presence in Houston?
LD: A few years ago, a band named ‘Fun’, won awards at the GRAMMYs. I’d used the name ‘Leslie Drayton and Fun’ since the mid-1980’s but didn’t have any protection on the name. So, for the last few years in LA, I dropped ‘Fun’ from the band name.  

Fast forward to Houston several months ago.   One morning while working out in the gym I was thinking about how good it felt having relocated to the Houston area and having time to explore some things that I had put on the backburner during my years as a college professor.   While reflecting that morning, the thought crossed my mind that I had few regrets for decisions I had made in life thus far.   This is not saying that all has been a smooth ride, but I had no regrets for the path I had chosen and the lessons learned along the way.   At that moment, a new band name popped into my head. I shared the name with my wife as soon as I returned from the gym and she agreed that it was a nice new name to have for the band as well. Thus the name was born.

Milestones, such as moving from one city to another are often a time of reflection, has the move from Los Angeles elicited any nostalgia?
LD: Moving to Houston has not really elicited any nostalgia for me. Each time I have relocated in my life, I think of the new place as home.   It’s a new adventure everyday.   Texas is a beautiful place-housing is affordable, people are very friendly, gasoline is a dollar cheaper per gallon, there’s great tax advantages here, lots of extended family, and lots of time to explore my creative endeavors at a relaxed pace.

How has your music evolved since you first began your career in 1967?
LD: Throughout the years, I have had the opportunity to experiment with different approaches on how to express myself musically. As a younger person, one tends to mimic others as a way to learn the language and life.   Many of my mentors observed that process, but also reminded me to develop and trust my own musical voice and ideas.   Once I could analyze and reflect on those things that were my personal expression, I began to explore and trust my own voice. So, almost 50 years later, I spend time refining and editing those things that are uniquely mine.

New city, new band. Is there a new image Leslie Drayton wants to promote, or do you continue to build on the image established over years for old and new fans alike?
LD: Much of what I do is based on impressions of those things around me. New music will emerge and I will revisit many of the older creations as well. New musicians bring a different perspective to older things and also bring their personalities and cultural differences to the music. As things evolve, there will be give and take from all involved while molding a newer sound and concept.

You have released 12 albums during your career. Is there a new album in the works?
LD: There’s always new music that needs to be documented.   Time will dictate when it is time to record again.

As a child, you’ve studied the piano, clarinet, bongo drums, and of course you’ve played the trumpet professionally. Is there any other instrument you desired to study besides the aforementioned?
LD: All instruments and colors of sound are fascinating.   Learning to play the trumpet well is a lifelong journey and requires daily interaction. I have purchased a grand piano since relocating to Houston and the sound intrigues me. After all, I began my musical journey on the piano as a toddler and I have sort of returned to my roots. My piano is a rebuilt Baldwin, model L, from 1917 or so. It’s beautiful and I’m very blessed to own it.

You’ve worked with artists such as Marvin Gaye, Melba Liston and Nancy Wilson among others. Is there any desire to collaborate with any other artists?
LD: No particular person is currently on the wish list.

Leslie Drayton and Few Regrets are a relatively new formation. What can fans expect from the band in the future?
LD: As I continue to get involved with the music scene here, I sincerely hope that fans will continue to enjoy our original sounds and be introduced to a select group of highly talented musicians presented in the most professional context as possible.

What inspires your music? What experiences, if any, have influenced your work the most?
LD: Life!!!!

If becoming a musician had not been an option, what career would be most appealing to you?
LD: Believe it or not, had I not become a professional musician I would have pursued architecture as a career. However, that all changed when I was 15 years old and was invited to join a youth band that rehearsed on Saturdays at a local music store. After that Saturday rehearsal, it was very clear to me that my path would be music and I haven’t looked back. And with that, I have few regrets. 🙂

Leslie Drayton can be contacted at

Denise Powell is a freelance copywriter and an avid reader. Her other interests include plants, healthy living and writing. She currently lives in Houston, Texas.



Spotlight: Live Music Movement Foundation’s Houston Debut

Houston’s Jazz scene just got a whole lot more exciting with Live Music Movement Foundation’s debut musical event. LMMF partnered with Leslie Drayton and Few Regrets in mid-November at ALJ Jazz Bar and Lounge, Downtown Houston’s newest jazz venue. The event was an unofficial celebration and reassertion of LMMF’s mission to “present, promote and preserve jazz, blues and soul music through performances, education and the commission of new works.”

LMMF’s founder and Chairperson Kathy Drayton shared some insight into the organization’s plans in Houston for the New Year and beyond.

Now that the Live Music Movement Foundation has birthed itself into Houston’s musical scene with its first event in the downtown area, what kind of events should be expected in 2017?
KD: Upcoming events will include more jazz along with blues. The audience showed an amazing response to the final tune of the night, “A Greasy Brown Paper Sack”. There was dancing and yelling in response to the music. That was a great indication that the crowd enjoys the blues. We’ll also look to have soul music as we explore the various musical genres of African American artists.

What were your take-ways from the very first Houston event? Highs? Lows, if any?
KD: There was tremendous support of the event with lots of family and friends who brought others to the event. The audience really enjoyed and responded to the music in a “call and response” fashion that is indicative of the black experience. This was a great opportunity to expose LMMF to Houston and for us to begin to cultivate a dedicated audience. Audience feedback indicates there is a market for the events we will produce and we should tap in to that market easily.

One of LMMF’s missions is to have musical events which emphasize dancing and socializing rather than concerts where the primary focus is listening. What are some ways you have been able to accomplish this in the past and how do you intend to promote it in the future?
KD: Our Los Angeles events were generally held at restaurants where guests could have a meal while enjoying the music. They were able to see friends and visit during the intermission. We encourage not only dancing where there is a place or a place can be carved out, but movement while seated. The movement can be foot tapping, head bobbing or shoulder shaking. We’ve also hosted Lounge and Restaurant events with a dance floor where R&B cover tunes were, which was a hit with the audience who danced the night away.
At the event at ALJ Jazz Bar and Lounge, the music was so exciting a couple found their spot to partner dance while at the end of the evening a group of revelers danced the ‘second line’ around the lounge waving white napkins as a substitute for white handkerchiefs.
The debut event was an official welcome home to Houston for me and cake was shared with all in attendance. It created a sense of community when we shared the cake with guests who didn’t know us.  To promote socialization in the future we’ll build on what we accomplished in Los Angeles and our debut Houston event. We’ll encourage those in attendance to “move” in some fashion. Since guests are sometimes shy to be the first to move, members of the group may begin the “movement” then others will follow.

Why is it important for LMMF to cultivate an intergenerational audience?
KD: Support of jazz has diminished substantially over the years. Much of the audience enjoying jazz are seniors. As they no longer attend, there will be no one to support the jazz form. The same can be said for blues and soul music. By exposing the music forms to a younger generation allowing them to gain an appreciation of the music performed live, there will always be an audience to support the music and the musicians.

LMMF desires to perform with seasoned musicians as well as those just beginning their careers, are there any particular musicians in Houston you would like to collaborate with for an event?
KD: As we explore the music scene in Houston, we hope to identify the seasoned musicians who have a similar vision as LMMF to begin an association with them. We will also be on the lookout for serious young musicians who are developing their craft as professional musicians and include them in our endeavors.
———————————————————————————————————————               ———————
LMMF’s vision and mission to present, promote, and preserve Jazz, Blues, and Soul for intergenerational audiences cannot be understated. Dancing, singing, and call and response are a part of the African American experience. Music is a medium to tell a story. It relays history and culture in remarkable ways, and history in none of its forms should be forgotten. The musicians who compose and create are just one part of the preservation effort; we who listen and move to the rhythm are the other.


Denise Powell is an avid reader and her other interests include plants, healthy living and writing. She currently lives in Houston, Texas.



Live Music Movement Foundation Moves to Texas

It is with great pride and excitement that we inform our followers and supporters that the Live Music Movement Foundation (LMMF) has officially moved to Houston, Texas! This is quite an exciting time for the organization and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share the details of the innovative and progressive direction Live Music Movement Foundation is taking upon our big move.


The city of Houston is a new home for LMMF but a familiar one. LMMF’s chairperson and founder Kathy Drayton’s uncle, the beloved Houston guitar player, I.J. Gosey played behind Junior Parker, Buddy Ace, Larry Davis, Joe Hinton, Joe Medwick and Gatemouth Brown on Duke and Peacock Records in the 1950s and 1960s during the Houston blues scene.


Gosey left such a wonderful musical impact on Drayton and the city of Houston, that the idea of relocating LMMF to the city where I.J.’s musical performances were loved and appreciated seemed like a great location for the foundation to thrive in while educating music lovers from all walks of life about the history and impact of jazz, blues and soul music through events and social mixers. In fact, I.J.’s long-standing gigs at two Houston music establishments formed the inspiration for the LMMF objective of audiences socializing around live music.

Live Music Movement Foundation, a double entendre, for moving live music forward by broadening an appreciation of the music and our audience moving to music (dancing) has the mission to promote, present and preserve jazz, blues and soul music through performances, education and the commission of new works.

To acheive LMMF’s mission, the organization will hold live musical events and not concerts, as a way to socialize around the music and dance will always be encouraged! The efforts of our events are to mix all ages and cultures together who have one common love: music.

We will provide opportunities for seasoned professional musicians to perform in an atmosphere that reflects a respect and appreciation of the music. LMMF is also excited and eager to work with young musicians of today to provide opportunities for them to develop as the leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

The educational aspect of our commitment to keeping the powerful American cultural force alive is our Musical Experience Salon. At these events, listeners will receive information about the history, traditions, and styles of music and the process of making the various music styles that we enjoy. Salons will also serve as a great opportunity for guests to mingle with fellow music lovers.

Our foundation is eager to acquire a dedicated audience to attend our events and bring a friend or two every time they attend. We hope you’re just as ecstatic as we are for our new direction in our new home and look forward to seeing you at our events.

“Change is always happening. That’s one of the wonderful things about jazz music.”

-Maynard Ferguson




sharice-bSharice Bryant is an independent filmmaker and authoress from Ann Arbor, Michigan with a love for the written world. You can find her works on and Jessica Watkins Presents Publishing Company under her pen name, S.Nicole.

Sharice holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Production Technology from Bethune-Cookman University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Filmmaking from the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, California.

She currently resides in Los Angeles in the independent filmmaking world as a director, producer and writer while also serving as a copywriter for an online marketing agency.


Support LMMF with your Purchases on!

If you purchase books or other items through, you can direct a charitable donation to Live Music Movement Foundation (LMMF).  There is no additional cost to you for the donation.

Here is what you do.  Sign on to  A box will pop up introducing AmazonSmile.  You have the option to pick a charity by choosing one of the spotlighted charities or picking your own.  In the pick your own box, type Live Music Movement Foundation.  A list of names will be shown with Live Music Movement Foundation in Northridge at the top.  Select this as your charity.

That’s all you have to do. When you shop, use and LMMF will receive a donation on your behalf.  We hope you’ll sign up today to support LMMF and encourage others to do so.  Thanks for your support.

Click here to begin shopping.



National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc. Convention to Spotlight Youth, Music and History of NANM

The 95th annual convention of The National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc. (NANM) will be held in Los Angeles beginning July 20 through July 24, 2014.  Founded in Chicago in 1919, NANM is the country’s oldest organization dedicated to the preservation, encouragement and advocacy of all genres of African American music.  Since its inception, NANM has provided encouragement and support to thousands of African American musicians, many of whom have become widely respected figures in the musical arena and have contributed significantly to African American culture and music history.

During the convention, music teachers, performers, other professionals and community groups have the opportunity to meet and compare notes with their counterparts from across the country; to hear and participate in concerts featuring familiar and unfamiliar musical literature; to become acquainted with new teaching techniques; to benefit from exposure to high standards of musicianship; and to discuss mutual problems and strategize solutions. See the NANMConventionFlyer and NANMConventionSchedule.

NANM supports young musicians by awarding scholarships, and will provide an opportunity for them to perform and to interact with their peers and highly acclaimed professional musicians during the convention.  By introducing aspiring young musicians to the various genres of music, NANM continues to ‘keep the music alive and vibrant’.

The convention will convene with the opening meeting (concert) at Grant AME Church, 10435 S. Central Ave, Los Angeles 90002 on Sunday, July 20, at 3:00 p.m.  The convention will conclude on Thursday, July 24. The Doubletree Hotel Los Angeles Westside, 6161 Centinela Ave., Culver City 90230, will serve as the headquarters and main venue for much of the four-day gathering.  Many notable musicians from all across the country will attend this uplifting, music-filled and informative convention. The convention encompasses and includes genres such as Negro Spirituals, Hymns, Gospel, Jazz and R&B. The public is invited to attend free and ticketed events.

Byron J. Smith, NANM President, believes Los Angeles is the ideal host city for this year’s convention.  “With the vast amount of music and entertainment that comes out of Los Angeles, it is only fitting that we all converge on Los Angeles for this our 95th anniversary,” he said. “The theme, ‘Lights, Music, Action: Spotlight on the Next Generation’ was chosen to reflect the Hollywood location of the convention.”

In addition to the opening meeting which pays tribute to the late Dr. Don Lee White who was instrumental in establishing the oldest branch on the West Coast, workshops, concerts, and awards presentations will be offered.

A gala concert will be presented on Monday, July 21, at 7:30 p.m. with the Inner-city Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICOYLA) under the direction of Charles Dickerson, founder and conductor. Special guests include Keith David (Enlisted) and LaVan Davis (House of Payne). The concert will be held at the beautiful Wilshire United Methodist Church at 4350 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles 90005.

The Life Members Guild Jazz Luncheon will be held on Tuesday, July 22, at 12:00 p.m. with a jazz ensemble of local youth scholarship winners.  Renowned, award winning writer and stage actress Karen Bankhead will perform as Ms. Etta Mae Mumphries and will also serve as Mistress of Ceremonies.

In celebrating 95 years of history and advocacy, a tribute honoring the past 23 national presidents including R. Nathaniel Dett, Brazeal Denard, Roland Carter will be presented through drama and song on Tuesday, July 22, at 8:00 p.m.

A Gala Awards Banquet will be held Wednesday, July 23, at 7:30 p.m. to honor five music legends for their contributions to African American music.  Honorees include legendary vocalist Kenneth Glover whose 60-year performance career included serving as the official soloist for the National Baptist Convention; retired Presbyterian Pastor and organist/pianist Rev. Dr. Leon E. Fanniel who was one of the accompanists for Mahalia Jackson and is a strong advocate for music programs and young musicians; Bellflower Symphony conductor Joseph Taylor who has taught strings to hundreds of young musicians for the past 40 years and is conductor of the NANM Convention Orchestra; and Musicians in Action founders Jacqueline and Gerald Malone whose calling has been to develop positive relationships between church musicians and church leadership.

Click here for schedule or for tickets.  Information is also available by emailing or calling (323) 294-6709. Official website: