"Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On - My Life In Music"
"Jeannie’s film worthy autobiography Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On was published by The University of Texas Press"
Earnie Grafton, The San Diego Union Tribune (October 2020)
"Like the author, this book is a rich, detailed, joyous account of a life devoted to the music that frames the American cultural heritage. "
David Cooper, Retired Associate Editor-Akron Beacon Journal & Co-Founder, Del Mar Jazz Party
"Few autobiographies of American musicians, written without the aid of a collaborator, have been written as artfully as this life story"
Lee Hildebrand, Living Blues Magazine
"Jeannie Cheatham has written one of the best Jazz autobiographies in years- packed yet pacy, sharply observed, personal and a real page-turner"
Peter Vacher, UK Jazz
"This girl can write! She balances life's trials and tragedies with a deep faith as well as a great sense of humor!"
Dr. Jack Wheaton, Founder & Past President – International Association of Jazz Educators
"Well worth acquiring! This memoir is informal, yet informative with musicians such as Earl Hines, Mary Lou Williams and the men of the Sweet Baby Blues Band making important appearances”
Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene
The Story Behind
"Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On"
"Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On" is the delightful and uplifting memoir of Jeannie Cheatham, a woman of color who grew up during the Great Depression in a neighborhood filled with Italians, Greeks, Hungarians and British people. The rest were a troop of free-wheeling, free-thinking relatives: uncles, aunts, cousins, M'Ma, M’DA, Gramma, Grampa, and the matriarch, Great Gramma Lizzie, who was born a slave, remained a slave until 12 years of age, but did not die a slave. She immersed all the children in lessons of resiliency, courage and ambition.
The Black experience in America - from the '30s through the '90s - is colorfully and thoroughly revealed throughout this memoir.
Jeannie Cheatham was trained in both the classical tradition and in the famous Kansas City jazz tradition by some of its greatest musicians: Pete Johnson, Jay McShann and Count Basie.
She began writing this memoir in longhand on yellow-lined legal pads on her 70th birthday. She writes about what it was like to be a woman on the road in a man's world, and what it means to be a mother who must work away from her children in order to provide for them. She writes of a life spent fighting racism and sexism, of rage and resolve, misery and miracles, betrayals and triumphs, of faith almost lost in dark places but mysteriously regained in a flash of light.
The great musicians of the past fifty years are there, from the Big Bands of Cab Calloway ("Minnie the Moocher"), Grover Mitchell (Count Basie band leader), Bill Tole ("New York, New York"), Big Mama Thornton ("Hound Dog") to George Lewis (MacArthur New Music Genius). Jeannie Cheatham played piano for them all.
Her riveting stories range from hilarious to haunting as she teaches us about life through her own adventures and misadventures.
An international audience of jazz and blues music lovers, developed through their support of Jeannie and Jimmy Cheatham's Sweet Baby Blues Band, will love this book.
Jeannie's song, "Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On," is still being re-recorded today and sung from Europe and Africa to Japan. The song is being played on a regular basis on stations in Washington, D.C.; Chicago, Ill.; KSDS in San Diego and KJZZ in Long Beach. Jazz and blues clubs all over the world are eagerly awaiting the story behind the woman who created "Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On."
For more information about the book, contact Jeannie Cheatham at: 858.526.0829
"Her life is an open book! Unflinching candor - a compelling read!"
George Varga, Union Tribune