Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Recent Sugar Blue Performance in Seattle

By Robert Horn 
Sugar Blue at Jazz Alley Photo By Robert Horn
Like millions of people, I first heard Sugar Blue back in the 1970's when I turned on a radio and heard the Rolling Stones perform a song called "Miss You." I thought I was hearing an orchestra on the opening riff. What I thought was a hundred trumpets and violins in astounding harmony was actually the harmonica playing of an 18 year old at that time. Sugar Blue brought down the house when he performed that song at Jazz Alley the night of January 24th, but other songs blew people away even more. He did many songs and showed why he is a Grammy Award winner. You can find a few of those songs on YouTube and it is worth spending some time going there to watch as well as hear what he does.

Photo By Robert Horn
His harmonica playing is amazing as well as the singing. The whole band is strong.  My cohort Chrisda Hamilton, who is also a percussionist, pointed out to me it shows something great about him that he loves a strong band and rhythm section on stage with him. The whole band is extremely talented. On bass is Ilaria Lantieri, and it was announced that she has agreed to become Mrs. Blue. On drums was James Knowles, who Chrisda Hamilton says is capable of upstaging a front man. In addition to one of the world's best rhythm sections there was Rico McFarland on guitar, and Damiano Della Torre played the keys.

Chrisda Hamilton, Ilaria Lantieri, Sugar Blue, and Robert Horn
A fairly long interview took place after the show. Sugar answered all the questions that Chrisda and I came up with ahead of time. Two interviewers is an outside the box method that seemed to make sense and it worked. The full interview was taped and will be used to write an article for The Washington Blues Society Bluesletter. The article will be strengthened by Chrisda's strong contribution to it. The questions included everything from what inspired him to play music, why the harmonica, advice to novice harmonica players, what song can make him cry and why, who he'd like to do a duet with, the most joyous moment in his career, the most challenging moment in his career, what he'd do if he wasn't a musician, and questions about his next two CD's. I'm looking forward to writing about it more.

Sugar Blue will perform at the great festival at the Winthrop Rhythm and Blues Festival this summer in Washington, and if you were not already planning to be there, this is a good enough reason to plan on it.

So, don't forget to read the upcoming article about Sugar Blue in a future Washington Blues Society's Bluesletter!

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget to go to youtube and watch his amazing performance of Hoochie Coochie Man as well as other songs. He did so many great ones that I can't remember one he won a Grammy for that he performed last night that brought down the house (many of his songs do that though.)