Tag Archive: jazz

“Oh, pardon me, she said” as once again a failed background check prevented a good-paying job.

A non-violent drug conviction from 15 years ago, with the  original case begun 17 years ago in February 1998. Delivery of a controlled substance in February of 1998. I was selling drugs to support my drug habit. The Pasadena Police saved my life the day the set up the buy of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). 357 units, carying a punishment of 5-99 years in Texas Prison. Through grace, the Honorable Judge Brian Rains in court 176 granted me 10 years probation.

My idea of “getting sober” meant I would not do cocaine, heroin or ecstacy any longer. I mean everyone drinks and or smokes dope, right? Riiight. So three years, two D.W.I.’s and a divorce later I was sentenced to 10 years TDC. I got sober after a while of being locked up and went to my first meeting on my daughter’s birthday in 2001. I did work with a mentor, a closed-mouth friend in prison and turned my life around. I made my first parole. I did NOT drink in Huntsville when I was released with 8 years and a few months “on paper.”

I waited three weeks because I held on to the notion that I could have a few beers and be cool.


The first time I had two drinks it was really six. I was going to wait until March 18, 201 to smoke dope again and whatdoyouknow… I was getting stoned a few months into my parole. I then relapsed on cocaine on night. Another night I got a hold of some X. The last drug (other than alcohol) was crystal meth. I hate meth. I was looking for cocaine, but I am a drug addict and I took what was available.

I left out that I’d lost my car the last day I got high. I woke up in a blackout, borrowed a car and a keyboard for a gig and proceeded to spend the gig money post haste. I woke up in the Height with a home full of Asian people I’d never recalled meeting. They saved my life. I got a ride to the Montrose and proceeded to try and hustle drinks at Mary’s.

Yes, that Mary’s.

The following day I took my last drink around noon on Friday, December 19th, 2003.

I was already enrolled in the University of Houston. I then was accepted into the Moores School of Music in 2004. I completed my bachelor’s degree in 2008. My master’s degree was done a short two years later in 2010. I then began the Doctor of Musical Arts degree.

I became Dr. Henry Alphonsus Darragh in December 2015.

I’ve been turned down for two jobs since then that I was verbally told I was hired for. You see, those jobs are making and teaching music with children. I have never harmed a child. I have a 17 year old daughter who we got custody of in 2010. We being my wife Melissa and I.

Thank God for her, as I’d likely be under a bridge if the Creator had not put her into my life 6 1/2 years ago.

How long until one’s time is served? I began voting promptly upon completing parole in March 2011. I did not celebrate getting off parole with a joint, I’m a square. Heck, I was an approved volunteer for TDCJ for years and went mostly to the Ramsey Unit for meetings. In 2009 I was awarded the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award, after Rudy V., a man whose legacy continues to bear fruit in the recovery scene.


So what must one do to be pardoned? Is it the Governor of Texas that I need to have on my side? What about President Obama, can he help me?

I did my time, I served my sentence. I want to be a full, 100% citizen.

Please Pardon me.

Our second sextet rehearsal was yesterday, this one was more challenging due to the reading of my new tune, “Gratitude.” Modal and mixed meter, it had some editing issues that… are best to come out in rehearsal and not on the bandstand! A little cleaning up of the way it is barred and it will be good.

We also dusted off “Busted” and “Latin Goes Ska, Goes Swing.” “Waiting for the End” is always a challenge and it’s sounding really good. We also rehearsed “I Should Care.” The tune is a laid-back swing that goes into double time. I wrote the arrangement background figures so they would work at double time too. Note to self: don’t count it off too fast on Sunday! Here’s the full track of “I Should Care” featuring Dennis Dotson.

The band is sounding great! Big thanks to Daleton Lee who subbed for Richard Cholakian.

5 days til the show!

HenryDarragh POSTER

See you there 😉


Kickstarter Campaign

I just launched a Kickstarter campaign to back my 2nd CD project, Too Much Monday. It is made up of originals, Standards, and a few other covers. There are lots of audio clips from the live recording we did back in November at Ovations and a fun video telling about the project. Please consider checking it out!

Chinese New Year (party)

I’m playing at a private party tonight celebrating the new year on the Chinese calendar. This is my second time to play for this event.

I’ll try and snag a few pics, the house is incredible, as is the piano!

Update: I’m also singing so I get a vocal workout tonight! I love getting paid to practice 🙂








Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

I return to the BCAF at Memorial Park in Houston with my sextet and also Melissa Darragh as a special guest.

So very stoked, am I.

The band rehearsed at our home on Monday and it went super well. I’m particularly excited that my mixed meter tune “Waiting For the End” sounded good in real life, not just on Finale. We also worked “Busted” which is a song I’ve wanted to do live for years. We are also doing some of the numbers of my first CD, “Hey There,” “Regret,” and “Dream Boxes.”

My Billy Joel rearrangement of “Just the Way You Are (except with different changes and no bridge)” should also please the non-jazz inteligencia. Perhaps we’ll please the inteligencia also… after all my group is:

Andre Hayward -trombone
Seth Paynter – tenor
Erin Wright – guitar
Henry A. Darragh – vocals/keys
Glen Ackerman – bass
Marcie Chapa – drums

Oh, I created a Facebook event, so of we are Facebook friends, consider peeping that for the info. Otherwise, I’ll all links and the like. Like linkeys later 🙂

Have a great day and weekend but don’t forget, SUNDAY, SUNNDAY, SUUUUNDAY.

It was a full house for the second time for me to play at Cezanne as a leader. This time, we had a quintet (last time was the quartet). We played my originals, Standards, George M. Cohan and others. It was a great night and 86 paid.

so the voting is open and the rules of engagement has changed. this year, voters are allowed to vote daily until the polls close the second week of November.

i want not to campaign “vote for me” but would be remiss if i didn’t mention it at all on the intranets.


mad respect to the Free Rads, Tianna Hall, Kristine Mills, The Jazz Marauders, and Alicia Gianni

okay… i just took a minute to vote for myself. i’m reminded of Homer J. Simpson who didn’t vote for himeself and wound up losing the election by one vote.

ahem, now to more important things than popularity contests….