Fundraiser, cookoff to aid Holden Beach musician

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

HOLDEN BEACH—This Saturday, the community is coming together to aid one of its most talented musicians.

Saxophonist James “JB” Brown, who regularly plays at Holden Beach festivals and Castaways Raw Bar & Grill, has prostate cancer that has spread to his lymph nodes, his manager, Matthew Howell, wrote to the Beacon last week.

Saturday’s festivities will include a chili cookoff, a raffle and entertainment that will include a performance by Brown, who lives in Durham.

Brown, Howell, said, was stricken about five years ago.

“[He] has handled this disease with such dignity and grace that most people wouldn’t know he is sick,” Howell wrote.

So many times, Howell said he has seen Brown go onstage “in so much pain that I knew he wanted to cry, but he was determined to put on a good show.”

Brown, he said, “has often said to me, ‘You know, Matt, when my lips touch the mouthpiece of my sax, all the pain goes away.’”

Howell said that’s how dedicated Brown is to his craft “and his astounding belief that every show has to be his best show.”

He said that’s always evident, including when Brown is in a South Carolina nursing home serenading a mother of one of their friends who has Alzheimer’s.

The woman can no longer remember Brown’s name “but sings along with him when he plays her song,” Howell says.

In Holden Beach, Brown entertains both locals and tourists.

The last time Brown played Castaways and at the recent Festival by the Sea, he told others about his illness.

“He used that time to stress to all fathers and husbands to make sure they got their scheduled checkups,” Howell said.

According to Howell and the General Entertainment website, Brown has toured the world with soul star Chuck Jackson and performed with such luminaries as Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Four Tops and The Temptations. He also was lead saxophonist and bandleader at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Festivities will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday with a chili cookoff.

The winner will be announced around 4 p.m., followed by live entertainment, karaoke, football on TVs inside Castaways, drink specials in the bar, and announcement of a raffle winner. “JB” also will be playing around 6 or 7 p.m., Howell said.

The raffle will include gift certificates from local businesses. Howell said they are seeking contributions. There also are Panthers tickets and other items, he said.

Chili cookoff competitors are asked to arrive by 2 or 2:30 p.m. at the latest with at least two gallons of chili that is ready to serve and kept warm. The entry fee for competition is $10.

For those wanting to taste the chili, the cost is $5 per person, which includes chili, crackers and cornbread. Barbecue plates will also be available.

For those interested in judging the cookoff, the fee is $10.

To register your chili, call or e-mail Howell at 704-576-3775 or howellm4@mailbox.winthrop.edu.

All proceeds will be donated to Brown and his family, Howell said.

Donations also can be sent to James Brown, 103 Kings Cross Lane, Durham, NC 27713.



What: Cancer benefit for “JB”—musician James Brown

When: 3 p.m. until, Saturday, Nov. 27

Where: Castaways Raw Bar & Grill, 112 Ocean Blvd. W., Holden Beach