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Nice Jazz Festival 1979
In 1979 the King incarnate travelled to Southern France for a pair of unique concerts. Under the auspices of notorious promoter George Wein, who took the Newport Jazz Festival on the road to Europe (including for performances behind the Iron Curtain), BB met French audiences in his usual manner: sharp suit, big simple, boundless charisma and stupendous ability. “The dynamic gentleman of the blues” is how Wein introduces him, and his opening guitar notes, on “How Blues Can You Get,” set the tone – few musicians have ever squeezed so much emotion and attitude out of their instrument.
For audiences gathered on the French Riviera in the July heat, it must have seemed dreamy. BB was still riding the wave of his artistic heyday, a decade after the release of “Lucille” and “The Thrill Is Gone,” and he delivered a set combining jazz, swing, soul and blues, with a touch of rock ‘n’ roll breaking through in his magnificent voice. With a full brass band behind him, he proves just how much of a master he was, working his accessible yet, at times, imperceptible, genius into crowd-pleasers like “Can’t Leave Your Love Alone” and “Caldonia.” Also noteworthy are brilliant solos from saxophonist Edgar Synigal and trombonist Steve Sherard.
Thursday, February 29, 2024