Veteran singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Leon Russell he of the Old Testament-looking white beard and flowing white locks may be the ultimate all-time session musician: Since the early 60s, when he got his start working with Phil Spector, hes been the go-to keyboardist for the likes of Bob Dylan, the Stones, the Beach Boys, George Harrison, B.B. King, Glen Campbell, Elton John, Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, and the Band. And Gary Busey. But Russells own songs and sprawling discography across that span are impressive in their own right; a swampy sort of Southern rock, gospel, blues, country, pop, and funk all rendered with grit and soul, and brought to life by his idiosyncratic drawl have all found their way into his work. Russells solo career has been one of relatively brief but prolific bursts and lengthy hiatuses; right now he seems in the midst of the former, as he recently released three albums. Tonight should provide plenty of reasons why Russell has been so in-demand by the best for most of his 67 years.
Tue., May 12, 8 p.m.; Wed., May 13, 8 p.m., 2009