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Byline: Bob Caldwell

JAZZ and Blues have been shadowing one another throughout the whole history of the two musics. Jazz icons from Louis Armstrong to Charlie Parker have always asserted that the blues is such a strong ingredient in a good jazz performance that a musician with no blues in his soul is not worth listening to.

BB King is one of the living legends of the blues scene who seems to have been here for ever. Born in 1925 he is undeniably a veteran, but one for whom there is a huge following amongst blues fans of all ages.

He plays 300 concerts per year in his bid for a degree of immortality.

The deaths of so many of his contemporaries most recently John Lee Hooker, only serve to remind King that we have but one chance to be remembered for our achievements.

Commenting upon his almost daily concerts, he says: "If you're out there, people never forget you. And that is one of the things I believe in today - never being forgotten. I would like to be remembered as a person who loved people and wanted to be loved by them."

Having been born on a cotton plantation in Mississippi he knew poverty and all the other hardships faced by black Americans of his generation.

He tells of the time that he set out to hitch his way north to Memphis with just his guitar and $2.50 in his pocket. What made BB King stand out in an overcrowded profession (many hundreds of excellent guitarists and blues singers died in obscurity) was a stage presence that created a strong link with his audiences. Everyone loves him and the huge sale of tickets for his only Midlands date, De Montfort Hall in Leicester on Wednesday, is a sure indication that his fans are as enthusiastic as they ever were.

The De Montfort concert is to take place in a superb natural amphitheatre in the grounds of the Hall itself and tickets at pounds 22.50 (pounds 18.50 for concessions) are still available, I am assured on 0116 233 3111. The music will start at 8pm.

I MENTIONED last week that sessions were due to recommence at the Cocked Hat, the long-time home of the Tierra Buena Band.

This Sunday, from 12.30-2.45pm you can hear local favourites, Jazz Salon Rouge, led for a great any years by banjo and guitar player John Noddings. There is a tempting programme of bands lined up for future weeks and although some are awaiting confirmation, I can reveal that The Central City Jazzmen, Geoff Muggleton's Classic Jazz Band and Spicy Jazz are all being negotiated with for future weeks.

WHEN listing all those jazz festivals last week, I saved the most imminent one until now. Birmingham's International Jazz Festival begins on Friday July 6 and presents 10 days of top class music at more than 50 venues in and around the city centre.

As might be expected, Ronnie Scott's in Broad Street is where many of the main stars can be heard, beginning with Tommy Smith's Quintet and Ralph Peterson's Po'tet.

A "fo'tet" is, apparently, a quartet, and it is boosted to a "fi'tet" by the addition of US saxophonist Dave Liebman.

Other American visitors at Scott's include Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Tenth Avenue Jazz Band and trumpeter Peter Compo, who will be accompanied by our own Jim Douglas, Len Skeat and Bobby Worth.

The range of venues is equally amazing. Would you believe Wheeler's Timber and Builder's Yard? Most are more conventional, including the Fiddle and Bone, The Brasshouse, Ty's Restaurant and the Edwardian Tea Rooms.

The line-up includes Bruce Adams, Gilad Atzmon, Alan Barnes, Bryan Corbett, Diby Fairweather, Courtney Pine, Roy Williams - even this is a savagely abbreviated list.

For a copy of the free programme, call Big Bear Music on 0121 454 7020.


JAZZ ICON: John Lee Hooker; LEGEND: BB King who has blues fans of all ages
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 29, 2001
Previous Article:GO! CLASSICAL: Be inspired at an open-air concert.

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