Pinetop Perkins

Wednesday, April 28 and Thursday, April 29

More or less singlehandedly responsible for setting Ike Turner on a musical path, it’s no small miracle (though not necessarily a surprise) that veteran blues pianist Pinetop Perkins is still a creature of the stage. When schoolboy-aged Turner and his friend Ernest Lane heard Perkins’ playing wafting up from Lane’s father’s basement on their way home from school one day in the late ‘30s, two lifelong musical careers were born on the spot. Transfixed by Perkins’ piano playing, the lads wandered downstairs, where Perkins dutifully taught them both how to play. Now, as Perkins approaches 96 years old, still on a daily regimen of cigarettes and McDonald’s, mind you, he represents the last of the front-line Mississippi bluesmen. And if you didn’t know it already, Perkins tells you so himself on his aptly titled 2004/2007 live album, Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen. Arguably most well-known as Muddy Waters’ sideman from 1969 to 1980 (as the replacement for Otis Spann), Perkins has also done notable support work for the likes of Earl Hooker, Robert Knighthawk, and B.B. King. Perkins’ distinct, quirky phrasing -- which stems in part from an arm injury he sustained early in his career -- is now considered a pillar of the boogie woogie style. He didn’t “go solo” until 1988, but since then Perkins has put out albums at a rapid clip in a rare and delightful example of a musician finding success in his later years.

Tue., April 28, 7:30 p.m.; Wed., April 29, 7:30 p.m., 2009

 
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