Kashmere Stage Band

Kashmere High School can be found in Houston’s Kashmere Gardens, a predominantly black area. Conrad O. Johnson, a music teacher, was inspired by Otis Redding’s 1967 concert to make a program that he could maintain at his high school. He wanted to provide opportunities for student musicians. The Kashmere stage band was created. Professor Johnson is known for his efforts to revolutionize the High School band experience. He challenged his students to perform, record, and tour like professionals instead of just marching for halftime shows. This is what earned them the title of “Stage Band”, which was quite rare for their era. Prof, as he was fondly called, believed that high school musicians could and would rise to professional standards if they were challenged. KSB was a formidable band that won the national high school band competition championships. Johnson was the band’s director, arranger, principal composer, and band director. To finance certain trips, the band used the door-to-door record sales proceeds to tour Japan and Europe. During its existence, KSB released eight albums. The sound of the Kashmere Stage band’s teenagers was comparable to the JB’s or the Bar-Kays’ contemporary funk bands. The KSB recordings were lost for many decades but have been reissued on 7″ or 12-inch LP records or CDs since 2003. They are highly sought after by hip-hop artists as well as DJ’s for their unique sound. One notable example is DJ Shadow’s song “Holy Calamity(Bear Witness II),” which samples “Kashmere”, from the album Kashmere Stage Band plays Originals. Many of the KSB’s latest releases are the first. Notable KSB alumni include jazz drummer Bubba Thomas. NPR’s All Things Considered reported that KSB was broadcast on August 4, 2006. Text contributed by users is available under Creative Commons By–SA License. It may also be available under GNU FDL.

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