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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

B.B. King Memorial Planned in Las Vegas




I've been in mourning for the past few days since B.B. King passed away... we also did a tribute if you missed it (link).

There will be a public viewing on Friday May 22 in Las Vegas, before moving to the burial in his hometown of Indianola, Mississippi as announced.

Read some of the comments people are sharing about King's passing [here].


Friday, May 15, 2015

B.B. King Tribute - 'Thrill is Gone' / Ali Sleeq & Hashim Al-Nasser





In memory of the late B.B. King, my good friend Hashim and I recorded his most famous song "Thrill is Gone". 

RIP B.B.


The Last King of the Blues is Dead; RIP B.B. King




All good things come to an end; kingdoms may rise and fall, but legacies endure the test of history.

Sad news this morning; the last king of the blues, one of the only remaining classic bluesmen, Riley B. King, most well known as B.B. King, has died at the age of 89.

I find it very difficult to grasp, that one of music's greatest pinnacles was currently in hospice and taken ill. It was inevitable, but we always don't like to admit it when the time comes.

I also had a shiver down my spine, as I performed one of his songs last night as a tribute; was it an omen?

B.B. King's legacy from his young upbringing in Mississippi, to capturing the audiences of all races and ages in the big cities is a huge success story; he won Grammys, countless Halls of Fames, hundreds of awards, and thousands of fans and proteges.

Today, we mourn the death of the last remaining King of the Blues. 

The thrill is gone, thrill is gone away.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Imagination Express: Tarek Yamani Trio, Local Musicians Live in Kuwait







This Thursday, Tarek Yamani, Lebanese jazz extraordinaire, will perform with his trio (Elie Afif / bass and Rony Afif / drums) at the Al-Americani Cultural Center. This event is being managed by Nuqat

Supporting him are some of the best local musicians (humble innit):

1) Hussa Al-Humaidhi
2) Amin Fari
3) Basil Al-Hadi
4) Galaxy Juice Band
5) and me, Ali Sleeq

It's a free event, so don't say you have something better to do on a Thursday night!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

KFC Deep Fried Blues


In what turned out to be my most bizarre gig (and believe me there have been many), was also one of the most memorable.

My agent called and asked if I would be willing to do a gig for KFC in the biggest mall in Kuwait. I'm not usually the person to say no to any gig, no matter how weird it sounds. I figure I will always have a story to tell my grandkids about.

Turns out the chain was going to do a meet and greet with Colonel Sanders himself (OK, he's not the real Colonel, but he's an approved copy!) and that he would be taking pictures and such with people.

Perhaps they underestimated his popularity. 

Once my blues associate Zeus and I got on the stage, which I might add, had a huge Styrofoam chicken bucket prop on the side, and started jamming away the blues, the Colonel strolled his way down to the stage as if he was the fucking president. The mobs that swarmed him was like a scene from some riot. 

We only got to do a few songs before the stage was invaded by the angry / delusional / spazzed crowd, which led us to evacuate. The colonel, in his brief moment of peace, thanked us and didn't believe we weren't from Mississippi (as per his words, not mine). We took a photograph, which will be cemented in modern history as the time we played the blues for the Colonel himself.

36th Blues Music Awards Winners




Thursday night, the 36th annual Blues Music Awards took place in Memphis, Tennessee.

Below is the full list of winners:

1. Acoustic Album: Timeless – John Hammond 
2. Acoustic Artist: John Hammond 
3. Album: Can’t Even Do Wrong Right – Elvin Bishop 
4. B.B. King Entertainer: Bobby Rush 
5. Band: Elvin Bishop Band 
6. Best New Artist Album: Don’t Call No Ambulance – Selwyn Birchwood 
7. Contemporary Blues Album: BluesAmericana – Keb’ Mo’ 
8. Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Janiva Magness 
9. Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Gary Clark Jr. 
10. Historical: Soul & Swagger: The Complete “5” Royales 1951-1967 – The “5” Royales (Rock Beat) 
11. Instrumentalist-Bass: Lisa Mann 
12. Instrumentalist-Drums: Jimi Bott 
13. Instrumentalist-Guitar: Joe Bonamassa 
14. Instrumentalist-Harmonica: Charlie Musselwhite 
15. Instrumentalist-Horn: Deanna Bogart 
16. Koko Taylor Award: Ruthie Foster 
17. Pinetop Perkins Piano Player: Marcia Ball 
18. Rock Blues Album: Step Back – Johnny Winter 
19. Song: “Can’t Even Do Wrong Right” written and performed by Elvin Bishop 
20. Soul Blues Album: Memphis Grease – John NĂ©meth 
21. Soul Blues Female Artist: Sista Monica 
22. Soul Blues Male Artist: Bobby Rush 
23. Traditional Blues Album: For Pops (A Tribute to Muddy Waters) – Mud Morganfield & Kim Wilson 
24. Traditional Blues Male Artist: Lurrie Bell



Wednesday, May 6, 2015

'Miles Davis at Newport 1955-1975: Bootleg Series Vol. 4' Coming in July


It's official; another collection of bootlegs spanning 20 years at the Newport Jazz Festival from Miles Davis and his band.

From the official release:

MILES DAVIS AT NEWPORT 1955-1975: THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOL. 4 SCHEDULED FOR RELEASE JULY 17 THROUGH COLUMBIA/LEGACY RECORDINGS FOUR-CD BOX SET TRACKS MILES’ ASCENDANCE OVER EIGHT LIVE FESTIVAL PERFORMANCES SPANNING 20 YEARS IN NEWPORT, NEW YORK, BERLIN, AND SWITZERLAND; 296-MINUTE PROGRAM INCLUDES NEARLY FOUR HOURS OF PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED MATERIAL.

Below is the full songlist and musicians:

CD 1: (July 17, 1955: Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, RI)
Selections: 1. Spoken Introductions by Duke Ellington and Gerry Mulligan • 2. Hackensack • 3. ’Round Midnight (previously released) • 4. Now’s The Time •
(All-Star Jam Session: Miles Davis, trumpet; Zoot Sims, tenor saxophone; Gerry Mulligan, baritone saxophone; Thelonious Monk, piano; Percy Heath, bass; Connie Kay, drums.)
(July 3, 1958: Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, RI)
Selections: 5. Spoken Introduction by Willis Conover (previously released) • 6. Ah-Leu-Cha (previously released) • 7. Straight, No Chaser (previously released) • 8. Fran-Dance (previously released) • 9. Two Bass Hit (previously released) • 10. Bye Bye Blackbird (previously released) • 11. The Theme (previously released) .
(Miles Davis, trumpet; Cannonball Adderley, alto saxophone; John Coltrane, tenor saxophone; Bill Evans, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Jimmy Cobb, drums.)

CD 2: (July 4, 1966: Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, RI)
Selections: 1. Gingerbread Boy • 2. All Blues • 3. Stella By Starlight • 4. R.J. • 5. Seven Steps To Heaven • 6. The Theme / Closing Announcement by Leonard Feather.
(July 2, 1967: Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, RI)
Selections: 7. Spoken Introduction by Del Shields • 8. Gingerbread Boy • 9. Footprints • 10. ’Round Midnight • 11. So What • 12. The Theme/Closing Announcement by Del Shields 
(1966 & 1967: Miles Davis, trumpet; Wayne Shorter, tenor saxophone; Herbie Hancock, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Tony Williams, drums.)

CD 3: (July 5, 1969: Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, RI)
Selections: 1. Miles Runs The Voodoo Down (previously released) • 2. Sanctuary (previously released) • 3. It’s About That Time / The Theme (previously released) .
(Miles Davis, trumpet; Chick Corea, electric piano; Dave Holland, bass; Jack DeJohnette, drums.)
(November 1, 1973: Newport Jazz Festival In Europe, Berlin)
Selections: 4. Spoken Introduction by Ronnie Scott/Band Warming Up • 5. Turnaroundphrase • 6. Tune In 5 • 7. Ife • 8. Untitled Original • 9. Tune In 5/Closing Announcement by Ronnie Scott
(Miles Davis, trumpet, organ; Dave Liebman, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute; Pete Cosey, guitar, percussion; Reggie Lucas, guitar; Michael Henderson, electric bass; Al Foster, drums; James Mtume Forman, percussion.)
(July 1, 1975: Newport Jazz Festival – NY, Avery Fisher Hall)
Selection: 10. Mtume.
(Miles Davis, trumpet, organ; Sam Morrison, tenor saxophone; Pete Cosey, guitar, percussion; Reggie Lucas, guitar; Michael Henderson, electric bass; Al Foster, drums; James Mtume Forman, percussion.)

CD 4: (October 22, 1971 : Newport Jazz Festival In Europe, Neue Stadthalle, Dietikon, Switzerland)
Selections: 1. Directions • 2. What I Say • 3. Sanctuary • 4. It’s About That Time • 5. Bitches Brew • 6. Funky Tonk • 7. Sanctuary.
(Miles Davis, trumpet; Gary Bartz, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone; Keith Jarrett, electric piano, organ; Michael Henderson, electric bass; Ndugu Leon Chancler, drums; Don Alias, percussion; James Mtume Forman, percussion.)

Blues Pack Released for Rocksmith 2014



Rocksmith 2014 is a music video game, similar to Guitar Hero or Rock Band. There are hundreds of songs, and many can be purchased and downloaded.

Well, yesterday a blues pack was released, featuring the following songs:


Blues Song Pack


  • Bobby “Blue” Bland “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City” 
  • Freddie King “Hide Away” 
  • Howlin’ Wolf “Spoonful”
  • John Lee Hooker “Boom Boom” 
  • Johnny Winter “Be Careful With A Fool”

You can watch the trailer below, and if you got this game, go feel the blues!



Tuesday, May 5, 2015

'Left Alone Blues' - Ishmon Bracy



Ishmon Bracy was an influential delta bluesman who was famous in the Mississippi and Tennessee circuit in the 30's-40's, along with another bluesman, Tommy Johnson. In the 50's he retired from blues and became a preacher, and didn't return to the blues.

His total recordings only count to 16, but were enough to put him in the history books.

This song is called 'Left Alone Blues' from 1928:


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Happy International Jazz Day!



Today is the official International Jazz Day, so to celebrate, I'll be hearing my playlists all day (I do that everyday but now with emphasis). I live in Kuwait so there's not much jazz going on around here.

If you are in Lebanon check out tonight's gig in Downtown Beirut.

If you want to watch the official Jazz Day concert in Paris, check out the live webcast!