“It’s as if Montreal had taken me in its arms”, remembers Alan Prater about his arrival in the metropolis, in 1991. Meeting with the Floridian, who has already accompanied the Jackson family, by far the singer the happier in town.

In his second year of university, Alan Prater also chose to invest himself, in the evening, in another type of school, that of the R’n’B and soul clubs bordering the beach of Jacksonville, his hometown. But in order to support himself, the trombonist also had to stay at a desk during the day at a branch of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an insurance company.

“One day, my mother came to see me at work and I was so exhausted that I slept”, says, in English, the musician met in the small studio he has set up at his home in Lachine. “My mother told me it was time for me to drop one of two things, clubs or insurance. And I think she figured I was going to drop the clubs. The next day, I just didn’t show up at the insurance company. »

For Dave Prater’s nephew of the legendary duo Sam

Alan Prater has traveled a lot, and has not always practiced his profession in princely conditions, but on stage, the one who sings within the funk formation The Brooks and who lends his blessed vocal organ to Valaire inevitably displays a smile of a kid.

What state of mind is he in during a show? “It’s more than a state of mind,” he replies.

In the early 1980s, Alan Prater accompanied, with his colleagues from the East Coast Horns, the R’n’B singer Millie Jackson. When he hears from a member of his team that Michael Jackson and his brothers (no relation to Millie) are looking for a horn section for a tour, the trombonist deploys all his persuasiveness in order to get a hearing.

But Millie Jackson’s sidekick, preferring not to pass on her employees to the competition, categorically refuses to help her. By dint of insisting, Alan ends up learning that the Memphis Horns (Otis Redding, Al Green, Elvis Presley) are in the race. Alan therefore sends a dummy letter to the Memphis Horns to tell them that their audition has been cancelled.

Then he shows up with his friends, in Los Angeles, at the door of the Jacksons, where the matriarch Jacqueline welcomes them, and where they pass themselves off as the Memphis Horns. They will get the contract on the spot.

“The Jacksons learned very quickly that we weren’t the Memphis Horns,” Alan continues, swallowing one of the pieces of fruit kindly placed in front of us by his lover, Lorraine. “They told us, ‘We don’t care who you are. You are now the brass section of the Jacksons.” Prater took part in the 1981 Triumph tour, immortalized on the album The Jacksons Live!.

At the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, Alan Prater traveled within the Tranzit formation on the circuit of bar-shows in the United States and Quebec – the Checkers, at the corner of Parc and Mont-Royal long been the Montreal base of the group.

But tired of occupying a supporting role, and not a leading role, Alan chose in the early 1990s to trade his trombone for the singer’s microphone for good, and start from scratch in London.

Lorraine, Alan’s companion for more than three decades, a French-speaking Quebecer, sneaks discreetly into the room to inquire about the state of our fruit plate and steal a kiss from her man. “There, you see why I stayed here,” he exclaims, his pupils dilated like a teenager who’s just had his first kiss.

After having struggled a lot and recorded in 2002 a solo disc under the pseudonym A. K. A. Soulo (Confessions, which allowed him to be included on the compilation The Soul Mixtape by DJ Jazzy Jeff), Prater will find by attending a show by The Brooks at Dièse Onze something like a family. When drummer Maxime Bellavance sent him the instrumental pieces to compose the band’s first album, Alan couldn’t resist imprinting his voice on it, which in 2014 gave rise to Adult Entertainment.

How old is Alan Prater? “It’s not important, man,” he snaps. Lorraine graces us with a clue. “Let’s say he could be the father of the guys from Valaire,” she said with a wink of her husband’s other adoptive family, whose members are in their mid-thirties. “But he is still able to follow the young people and show them the way. And he has such a beautiful soul. I’m sure you feel it. »