The Soul of the King
When B. B. King passed away on May, 14th 2015 the world mourned. He also left behind this fabulous ten piece band. They pay tribute to his memory on “The Soul of the King”.
In order to help keep the tribute vibrant the thirteen tracks include originals mixed with King’s classics. The three principal contributors include trumpeter James “Boogaloo” Bolden, who spent thirty years with King, twenty of them as bandleader; alto saxophonist Eric Demmer best known for his twelve years with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown; and Memphis born bassist Russell Jackson. The band is rounded out by Walter King, sax; Herman Jackson and/or Brandon Jackson, drums; Darrell Lavigne, keyboards; Lamar Boulet, trumpet; Raymond Harris, trombone; and Walter Crosby, guitar.
The King penned songs include “Sweet Little Angel” sung by Kenny Neal; “Paying The Cost To Be The Boss” featuring singer Mary Griffin in duet with Taj Mahal, and “The Trill Is Gone” with a vocal from guitarist Michael Lee. Although composed by Doc Pomus and Dr. John “There Must Be A Better World Somewhere” is forever associated with King and performed by Diunna Greenleaf. “Regal Blues (A Tribute to the King)” written by Joe Louis Walker features Walker on both guitar and vocal.
Bolden is writer and singer on three songs “Hey There Pretty Woman”; “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow”, and “Pocket Full of Money”. Demmer contributes both “Irene, Irene” with guitar from Kenny Wayne Shepherd; and “She’s The One” on which he takes a soulful vocal. Jackson sings on Demmer’s “Taking Care of Business” and on two of his own songs “Becoming The Blues” and “Low Down”.
The album is wonderfully mastered by Gebre Wardell who receives credit as co-producer alongside Bolden, Demmer, and Jackson. While the B.B. King Blues Band pays a loving tribute to their boss they also establish themselves as a great contemporary unit building on the musical legacy King left behind. Better check out these old hands.