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"You only turn 90 once if you're lucky": Local musician gets special celebration for birthday

Dr. Herman Green turned 90-years-old Tuesday.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Large gatherings are still prohibited. That limits special celebrations such as birthdays.

But sometimes, you just can't contain the joy.

Our friends on Nextdoor showed us how a local famous musician still got a grand gesture for his big day.

Tomorrow isn't promised, we celebrate today.

"He's the man. There's no other way to put it. He is the man," said Richard Cushing, FreeWorld band leader.

Dr. Herman Green is a famous blues and jazz musician. Tuesday, he turned 90-years-old. That’s nine decades of influence passed on to younger musicians like Cushing and his band FreeWorld.

"My father passed in 95' and Herman became my dad. I looked out after him. He looked out after me," said Cushing. "He says, 'I will do this, but you've got to be serious about the music.'"

It is a seriousness dating back to 1945 when Herman got his first gig on Beale Street.

"In 1947, he became BB King's first saxophone player. Herman helped put his first band together," said Cushing.

Herman later played with other big names such as John Coltrane, Marilyn Monroe, Lionel Hampton, and Stevie Wonder.

"If I could really come up with one word that would encapsulate Green's life and impact, it's teacher," said Cushing.

He served as head of the Jazz Studies Department at Le Moyne-Owen College.

"Most other cities don't have this 100-year history of a place that has this heritage associated with it, and some of the old guys are still around to teach you," said Cushing. "The friendship and the realness of Herman, his spirit and his soul, he's such a beautiful human being."

Green is a legend deserving of his flowers now.

"Ya'll really doing a big time with the big mind," Green.

"You only turn 90 once if you're lucky," said Cushing.

Green responded, "I'm lucky."

Every once in a while, Green still plays his saxophone.

Cushing calls those times "moments of brilliance."

We know there are more people doing brilliants things out there.

Don't be shy. Share it with Local 24 News Reporter, Brittani Moncrease, on Nextdoor.

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