B.B. King

35 Years of Legends: B.B. King

A member of blues royalty, the indefatigable “Blues Boy” King has been singing the music of his native Mississippi with unparalleled passion since the 1940s. B.B. King borrowed freely from West Coast jazz and blues to pattern his unique style. Starting in the late 1960s, he broadened his musical horizons and his spectrum of audiences. From the neck of the guitar named Lucille was born a spare and fluid signature sound that inspired generations of bluesmen and rockers, among them Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones and U2.

The great B.B. comes to Montréal

While he was accustomed to giving up to 300 concerts a year, B.B. King did not appear at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal until 1989. That year, he stood alongside several star performers on the stage of the old Forum for a concert celebrating the Fest’s 10th anniversary.

Six years later, King shared the stage with another blues titan, Buddy Guy. The two musicians engaged in a friendly competition-a kind of world championship of blues guitar. The Montreal Forum was specially converted into a giant cabaret with a central pivoting stage for the occasion.

The “King of the Blues” returned to the Festival 11 years later to mark his 80th birthday. That year, he released his 36th album. Titled 80, it featured a series of duos with an eclectic collection of artists including Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Elton John and… Gloria Estefan.

In 2008, B.B. King launched One Kind Favour, a pure blues recording that included the Blind Lemon Jefferson classic, See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.

In 2014, two generations of blues meet on one stage: the regal B.B. King, 15-time Grammy winner, member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame, and Gary Clark Jr., who was compared to Jimi Hendrix by The New York Times and won a Grammy in 2014 for Best Traditional R&B Performance. It’s an opportunity to discover the rich spectrum of this music, from B.B. King’s Mississippi hoodoo to Gary Clark Jr.’s new hip-hopand soul-influenced album, Blak And Blu. This is the real deal!