Monday, December 7, 2015

John Mayall in Rome, February 26th, 2014

John Mayall, the lion of the blues, keeps rocking away in Rome.

In Rome for his “80th Anniversary Tour”, the great British bluesman John Mayall shows no sign of slowing down.

The historic “father of the British Blues”, 80 year-old John Mayall, performed to a sold-out crowd in Rome.   Mayall needs no introduction to his stellar career that began way back in 1956 when he formed the group “Powerhouse Four”.   

Unquestionably, his most famous band has been the “Bluesbreakers”, his very own “University of the Blues, which he founded in London in 1963 after a brief spell with the “Blues Syndicate”.   Mayall’s new band eventually went on to record some 45 albums.

Some of the fine musicians that rubbed shoulders in the early years with Mayall were Jack Bruce (of “Cream” fame), Mick Fleetwood, Duster Bennett, John McVie, Aysnley Dunbar and Peter Green.

But perhaps the two most famous musicians that had the honor of playing with Mayall were Eric Clapton and a young Mick Taylor (Taylor was 16 when he showed up at a “Bluesbreakers’s show.  A guitar on stage was without its owner that night.  It belonged to Clapton.  Young Taylor asked John if he could play.  Mayall said ok, perhaps somewhat skeptical though of the very young guitarist, who went to play with his band at age 17.  Taylor’s also been considered by Mayall as one of the best slide-guitarists of the business).

Legend has it that it was John who recommended the young Taylor to a certain Sir Mick Jagger just after Brian Jones had died.  And history was in the making, as the young Taylor would leave his “mentor” Mayall to go play with the world’s “greatest rock and roll band” from 1969-74.

Mayall was joined on stage in Rome for his classic “jam session blues” concert, a mix of traditional Afro-American rhythms and jazz, by an outstanding back-up band made up of: Rocky Athas on guitar, Greg Rzab on bass and Jay Davenport on drums.  Mayall’s repertoire also included songs from his recent albums, “Tough” and “Live in London”.

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