September 16

Happy Birthday Mr. Riley B. “B.B.” King!

It’s very kind of you to make your own birthday cake for the occasion:

The album Blues-N-Jazz from 1983.

The album was a gift from earlier this summer. My cousin came to visit from the coast and brought this for The Collection. An acquaintance, in the midst of a downsize, sent it along for karma points… and boy do I appreciate it!

This album represents big band Blues at its finest… with bandleader Calvin Owens at the helm. Guest stars and big band jazz luminaries are peppered throughout.

Pianist George Shearing and trumpeter Chet Baker make appearances alongside guitarist Charlie Christian. Lionel Hampton’s tenor sax player Arnet Cobb is here as is Major “Mule” Holley on bowed bass.

This album won the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album/Recording that year… an honor that was bookended by his inclusion into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

This album predates his return to prominence in pop music circles when he recorded with the band U2 on the Rattle and Hum record and collaborated with Eric Clapton on his Riding With the King album. It also predates Kings entry into night club mogul status with his BB King Blues Clubs beginning in 1991.

Stand out tracks include Inflation Blues, B.B.s “hey Mr President WTF is going on?” classic, and the smoky stripped down I Can’t Let You Go.

So, once again, Happy Birthday Mr King! We miss you!

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