Raphael Semmes

Raphael Semmes (pronounced Raf-yul) has fond memories of his mother singing as he was growing up. The feeling of her music became an inspiration for him and when he was given a Silvertone guitar, and he soon discovered that he could express himself with music as well. Switching to bass, Raphael performed with blues and jazz artists such as John Lee Hooker, Vasti Jackson, Milt Hinton, Mose Allison, Katie Webster and Jewel Bass. Among his touring highlights were playing behind the Iron Curtain and for Tiny Tim (after all, who wouldn’t take the opportunity to play with Tiny Tim!). Since the early 2000s, he has booked the performers for The Township Jazz Festival, for which he was a co-founder as well as playing at the annual Blues Day concert for public school. In addition to his playing, Raphael is also a composer whose music has been performed by the Mississippi Symphony including the composition “Mississippi Feels Like Coming Home.”

Interview Date:
May 21, 2019
Job Title:
Musician, Bassist, Songwriter

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