The Mississippi Delta may be considered the birthplace of the blues, but on any given weekend in New Orleans, you’ll have no problem finding a red-hot blues show to delight your fancy. We combed the music listings and found three shows that are sure to bring you to your feet, from the Bayou Blues Fest featuring the incomparable Bobby “Blue” Bland to a piano-playing tribute to the late great James Booker.
1. Tribute to James Booker featuring an All-Star Piano Summit
Keyboard legend James Booker died nearly three decades ago, but his music lives on. As part of its 10th anniversary celebration, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra presents a night in his honor featuring an all-star line-up of New Orleans piano players. Often mentioned in the same breath as Professor Longhair, Booker was known for a style that mixed rhythm and blues with jazz. Those who call him an inspiration include Harry Connick Jr., Marcia Ball, Henry Butler and George Winston.
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2
Where: Irvin Mayfield’s I Club, JW Marriot, 614 Canal St.
2. Bayou Blues Fest
Soul singers Bobby “Blue” Bland and Shirley Brown headline the Bayou Blues Fest, with additional performances by blues artists Floyd Taylor, Jeff Floyd, Tucka and Theodis Ealey.
Bland, a regular on the New Orleans music circuit, is a blues legend known for his soulful hits “Farther on Up the Road,” “Turn on Your Love Light,” and “Call on Me.” Now 82, he burst on the music scene in the early 1950s with the Beale Streeters, a Memphis band that also included B.B. King.
Brown, a favorite at Southern blues festivals, is best known for her million-selling single “Woman to Woman,” which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1975. At 65, her powerful and sassy on-stage presence has often been compared to that of Aretha Franklin.
3. Smoky Greenwell’s Blues Jam
In 1983, harmonica wiz Smoky Greenwell moved to New Orleans from Nashville for a gig at the Old Absinthe House and never left. A former harmonica and saxophone player with War and Blues Co-op, he has shared the stage with the likes of Snooks Eaglin, Eddie Bo, Coco Robicheaux and Walter “Wolfman” Washington. He has five solo CDs to his credit, including “Smokin,” “Smoke Alarm,” “Blowout” and “Smokin Christmas.”
When: 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5
Where: BMC, (also known as Balcony Music Club), 1313 Decatur St.
Copyright © 2014, Capital City Press LLC • 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810 • All Rights Reserved