At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29
Johnny Mercer Theatre, Savannah Civic Center. $45-$65
Down significantly from his fighting-weight average of 300 shows per year, B.B. King is still, at the tender age of 85, a road warrior of the first degree. For a man who's been playing guitar in front of audiences consistently since the early 1940s, he shows little sign of slowing down. Only that pesky diagnosis of Type II diabetes - he's been a media spokesman for its medical management for two decades - seems to have had an effect on him.
King, of course, is considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, electric blues guitarists of all time. His clean, fluid style - developed in the juke joints of Memphis and on the never-ending "chitlin' circuit" of Southern clubs - has thrilled, altered and influenced every stringbender to follow, from Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy, to Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Although King placed 74 songs on the R&B charts between the ‘50s and the ‘80s, he had but one major crossover hit: 1970's "The Thrill is Gone," a record so full of impassioned singing and pinched-heartstring guitar work that it couldn't be ignored. He won a Grammy for it, too - the first of 15.
If we're looking at accolades, how about these: King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 (the inaugural class), the same year he got a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammy People. He's got a Kennedy Center Honor, a National Medal of Arts, the NEA National Heritage Fellowship, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and - near and dear to his heart - B.B. King's Blues Club franchises in six cities around the country.
Mississippi-born King was tutored in the blues by his second cousin, Bukka White. In a recent interview with a British paper, King revealed that he learned one indispensible piece of advice from Cousin Bukka:
"If you want to be a good blues singer, people are going to be down on you," King explained. "So dress like you're going to the bank to borrow money."
Savannah's Train Wrecks open the concert. See bbking.com
Latino Heritage Week concert, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1
Armstrong Atlantic State University Fine Arts Auditorium, 11935 Abercorn St. Free.
AASU has been celebrating Latino Heritage Week since Monday, and things get bumped up to high gear with Wednesday’s Fiesta Day (11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. on the Student Union Plaza). It’s a fashion show, with colorful costumes from Caribbean, Central and South American countries and modeled by Armstrong students, followed (at 7 p.m.) by a performance from singer/songwriter Vicci Martinez. The week’s activities have all been leading up to the Friday night (7:30 p.m.) concert in the Fine Arts Auditorium, starring the Florida-based music and dance groups Brazilian Waves, and its Carnival D’Brazil. The band includes drums, percussion, bass, keyboards, sax, flute and vocals, and runs the gamut of Brazilian and South American music including samba and bossa nova. The modern composers represented include Jobim, Gilberto, Nascimento, Airto, Gismonti, Costa, Simone and Mendez. It’s free - muy caliente!
CHECK IT OUT
From the innovation department, there's something special Friday and Saturday (Oct. 1 and 2) at Muse Arts Warehouse: Hip Hop on the Rocks, with Dope Sandwich (our resident rap visionaries) and the bands Howler, Niche, Mass Plastic, KidSyc & Brandywine, Word of Mouth and 1st Klass. It's at 7 p.m. each day; admission is $4 per day, or $6 for both ...