On Sept. 6, guitarist Jimmy Vivino, with producer Greg Williamson, created an exceptional Blues Revue for the Blues Foundation at B. B. Kings Club in New York City.
The event featured a who’s who of blues musicians, ranging from legends like Dion, Sam Moore, William Bell and John Sebastian to break-out young stars that won the hearts and souls of the audience.
One could call it the night of two Kings.
“King” Solomon Hicks is only 20 years old, but has been lead guitarist and performer for nine years at the Cotton Club. He already has four albums. Hicks proved he has the right stuff on the stage last night. Vivino discovered him next door at Lucille’s, the small room in B.B. Kings Club.
Remember the name Solomon Hicks. He’s a rare performing talent, as well as a composer, and he burned up the stage last night. He left a major impression of this hard-core New York audience, who talked about him long after his performance.
The other star of the night was Marcus King, a fellow South Carolinian. He grew up in Greenville, 35 miles from my hometown of Honea Path. He played shows as a pre-teen sideman with his father, bluesman Marvin King. He now leads his own Marcus King Band
The Marcus King Band’s current self-named album, released last year, was produced by musician Warren Haynes and written entirely on the road and recorded during a series of sessions at Carriage House Studios in Stamford, Connecticut.
The album also includes a number of the band’s mentors and collaborators, including Derek Trucks (who plays guitar on "Self-Hatred") and Warren Haynes, who in addition to producing the album, added his slide guitar work on "Virginia." The album reached #2 on the Billboard Blues Albums Chart.
Both of these young men are the future of the blues and both proved it’s in good hands last night to an audience they won over big time.
In addition to the new comers, the legends were in full force with names like Dion, Sam Moore and William Bell providing the headliner acts.
Dion has been performing long before most of the audience members were born. He was on the bill at the Winter Dance Party tour when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson died in 1959. He has just recorded an album with Vivino.
Sam Moore, a legend with Sam and Dave, sang a new version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” last night. It’s on his new album and the man brought a level of soul to the song that made it new again.
William Bell, who won a Grammy last year, is one of the last living soul legends. You knew it clearly when he performed the blues classic he wrote with Booker T. Jones, “Born Under a Bad Sign.” They had done the song for Albert King and it was later recorded by dozens of blues musicians.
Notable on the bill was Catherine Russell, the jazz and blues vocalist. Russell was essentially born into the blues. Her father, the late Luis Russell, was Louis Armstrong's long-time musical director, and her mother, the late Carline Ray, held degrees from both Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music and performed with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm during World War II.
Also performing in the revue was Shemekia Copeland, Ruthie Foster, Bob Margolin, Joe Louis Walker, Bill Sims, Eric Krasno, Scott Sharrard and an all-star house band. It was a great night of the blues.
Jimmy Vivino, Bob Margolin, Dion DiMucci and John Sebastian