Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Celebrate BB King

Today is BB King's 84th birthday. The man is still touring, singing the blues and playing his Gibson guitar as only he can. Every year Monica and I look forward to going to Merriville Indiana on Easter weekend to see BB. I probably don't have to tell you he is a dynamic performer or that his melodic shimmering guitar solos with his signature vibrato and wavering pinky finger changed and influenced every blues and jazz guitarist since the 1950's. He took blues in a decidedly different direction than his contemporaries like Muddy Waters. Waters went from acoustic to electric but BB went farther by creating a style of soloing that was more melodic and took blues to a new audience. BB created his own chords and melody riffs that are unmistakably his own. His influence reached not only blues and jazz but rock. Rockers such as George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jeff Beck right down to players today like Tracy chapman and John Mayer, all influenced by BB. I doubt if there are many guitarists of any genre he hasn't played or recorded with. He owns several Blues clubs and his BB King Museum in Jackson, Mississippi is said to be always packed.
If you've never seen this legend in action yet, I guarantee you'll love his show. Not only is he a great musician, he is a very funny story teller.
Happy Birthday to the King of the Blues!

BB sits for much of his concerts now but it takes nothing away from how he still puts his hands on his hips and gets saucy. I love how his fingers seem to be a performance of their own and he plays every note with his body and facial expression.

A younger BB jams on one of my favorites "Sweet Sixteen". What a story!
This is sweet, just BB and Lucille.

1 comment:

Chris said...

LOVE this guys music! Thanks for the photos.........