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14 months later (now 1966), I decided that I would go to New Orleans and find a jazz-club. Luckily I met people who knew of
an after hours club where great musicians would come to play.
The club was called "Hollies Lounge" and was just outside of the French Quarter. Musicians like Nat Perillat, James Black, Roger Dickerson, Chuck Beatty, Germaine Basel, Richard Payne and
Trevor Khoeler would perform there and all had a profound influence on my musical development in those very early formulative years.
They all knew that I took their lessons very seriously. I would
shuttle between weekends learning in New Orleans and my job
in the Air Force during the week.


1966-67 Stafford James Quartet: 
Keesler AFB, Biloxi, Mississippi

  In late 1966 I collaborated with three other musicians from Keesler AFB and formed my first quartet. We were able to perform small concerts at the "Airman's Club". Above all, I knew that I would
one day have to study seriously again even though I had learned
a lot from the New Orleans musicians, serious study was at the top of the agenda.