Greetings and welcome to this week's Reservoir Music Notes.
Well, we all know by now that Whitney Houston died this week. I actually got the news just before my deadline last week, but I decided not to write anything about it because, well, her music just ain't my bag! But, she did have an amazing voice and was a force to be reckoned with in music, so I decided not to let her pass without at least a mention. The girl could sing! I only wish her career had been guided by someone other than Clive Davis, so she might've had a real music guy in her corner. She could've been another Aretha, had her material not been so white bread! RIP Whitney.
"Howlin' For Hubert," a celebration of the musical legacy of the late Hubert Sumlin and his influence on every guitar hero of today, has been confirmed for February 24th at New York's legendary Apollo Theater. The evening will benefit the Jazz Foundation of America. The concert will feature performances by Doyle Bramhall II, Eric Clapton, Gary Clark Jr., James Cotton, Shemekia Copeland, Billy Flynn, Barrelhouse Chuck Goering, Buddy Guy, David Johansen, Steve Jordan, Danny Kortchmar, Dr. John, Keb Mo, Todd Mohr, Ivan Neville, Robert Randolph, Keith Richards, Kenny Wayne Sheperd, Larry Taylor, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Jimmie Vaughan, Jimmy Vivino, Willie Weeks, Jody Williams, Kim Wilson, and other special surprise guests.
After playing for a lifetime and lifting the world with his blues, it is hard to believe that a legend like Hubert, who influenced so many in the music world, could die penniless. That is why this tribute to Hubert will benefit the Jazz Foundation of America, with 6000 musician emergency cases a year, saving jazz and blues one musician at a time. A fund in his honor will be created from this concert as it was his wish that no musician would ever have to go through this again.
For twenty two years the Jazz Foundation of America (JFA) has been committed to providing jazz and blues musicians with financial, medical, housing, and legal assistance as well as performance opportunities, with a special focus on the elderly and veterans who have paid their dues and find themselves in crisis due to illness, age, and/or circumstance. JFA keeps hundreds of jazz and blues legends in crisis, from eviction and homelessness by paying rents and mortgages, and finding creative dignified solutions to heal their darkest hours, as they have always been there to heal ours.
Quiet and extremely unassuming off the bandstand, Hubert Sumlin played a style of guitar incendiary enough to stand tall beside the immortal Howlin' Wolf. The Wolf was Sumlin's imposing mentor for more than two decades, and it proved a mutually beneficial relationship; Sumlin's twisting, darting, unpredictable lead guitar constantly energized the Wolf's 1960s Chess sides, even when the songs themselves were less than stellar.
A member of The Blues Hall of Fame, Hubert's singular playing is characterized by "wrenched, shattering bursts of notes, sudden cliff-hanger silences and daring rhythmic suspensions". Listed in Rolling Stone's The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time as well as a four time Grammy nominee he is cited as a major influence by many artists, including Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Robbie Robertson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix.
Tickets are sold out, if they even were ever offered to the public, but if you can talk, buy, squirm, or otherwise gain admission into this once in a lifetime event, you'll have a memory that will last a lifetime!
If you can't get in to the "Howlin' for Hubert" Concert, here's the best of the rest for this week.
Happy Leap Year! See you next week.
Fred Perry is the owner of Reservoir Music Center on Route 28 in Shokan, and founding member of Alt-Country supergroup, The Brooklyn Cowboys, is from a 3rd generation musical family and lives in the Hudson Valley, where he does what he can to promote live music.