Jazz Concert Review: BUDDY GUY & CHRISTONE “KINGFISH” INGRAM (The Hollywood Bowl)

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by Scott Yanow on September 15, 2023

in Concerts / Events,Music,Theater-Los Angeles


On a Wednesday night, the Hollywood Bowl showcased two giants of the blues, representing its storied past and its potential future. Buddy Guy, the last of the veteran greats, was the main attraction while Christone Ingram (known as Kingfish) showed that the blues will not run out of gas or fresh ideas for quite some time.

During the past four years, the 24-year old guitarist-singer Kingfish has emerged as one of the young leaders of the blues. Born in the legendary Clarksdale, Mississippi, he originally played drums and bass before switching to guitar. His 2019 debut Kingfish was a big hit and it was followed by 662 in 2021, and this year his new double album, Live In London! While one can imagine the temptations that he has resisted, Kingfish has largely stuck to the blues so far.

At the Hollywood Bowl he was joined by keyboardist Deshawn “D’Vibes” Alexander, bassist Paul Rogers and drummer Chris Black. Among the numbers that the quartet performed were the blazing “Walking By The River,” “Midnight Heat,” the bluesy ballad “Empty Promises,” and “662.”

Kingfish displayed an expert use of space, dynamics and mood variations and a variety of sounds that form his musical personality. A heated number would be succeeded by a lowdown blues and then a rollicking jam. Kingfish was frequently featured in long instrumental interludes that focused on his wailing guitar, and then he would bring the volume and intensity down a bit before gradually building up to a climax. His maturity and ability to read the crowd were as impressive as his musicianship and dedication to the blues. He also served as the perfect opening act for Buddy Guy.

Now 87 and probably on his last tour, Buddy Guy showed that he was still in his musical prime. With fine backing by guitarist Ric Hall, keyboardist Dean Souvigny, bassist Orlando Wright and drummer Tom Hambridge (Hall and Souvigny had their share of solos), Guy was in great spirits. His playing was heated from the start on “Damn Right I Got the Blues.”

As usual, Guy displayed a strong and sometimes hilarious sense of humor throughout his show. At one point he made a lot of funny sounds using a drumstick and a rag on his guitar and putting his instrument on top of a speaker to get feedback, all of it done with a mischievous smile. He paid tribute to Muddy Waters with “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” getting the audience to sing the latter’s title while criticizing their singing. He purposely played a bit like B.B. King on “How Blue Can You Get,” sang the bluesy ballad “Skin Deep,” and shared lots of wisdom (some a bit dubious) with the audience.

For the finale, Buddy Guy was joined by guitarists Greg Guy (his son who played quite well), Jimmy Vaughan and Kingfish. They jammed for an additional ten minutes after Buddy Guy left the stage, showing the enthusiastic audience that the blues will never die.

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