For over half a century, B.B. King and B.B. King’s Band defined the blues to the world, averaging over 250 sold out concerts per year, with classics like “The Thrill Is Gone,” “Every Day I Have The Blues,” “How Blues Can You Get,” and “Why I Sing The Blues”. Combining over 100 years of musical talent, this is your chance to experience and celebrate these incredible legends…LIVE ON STAGE!
Lead Guitar/Lead Vocals
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Tito Jackson’s poetic lyrics, irrepressible vocals, and evocative musicianship are a faint reflection of the remarkable gifts that characterize Gary, Indiana’s native son. Born Toriano Adaryll Jackson, Tito has spent his entire life enchanting music lovers with soulful harmonies interwoven with curvaceous rhythms as a member of Motown’s greatest discovery, The Jacksons (Jackson 5), and presently as a multi-faceted solo artist. Tito’s unyielding passion for blues, R&B, pop, and other music forms is the secret to his boundless energy and rare achievements in the ever-changing entertainment spectrum.
In 1962, before the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons, Tito performed in a local group called The Jackson Brothers. After competing and winning local talent shows in and around Gary, the precocious brothers were victorious again on the most prestigious amateur stage of all — Manhattan’s Apollo Theater. In that same year Tito and his brothers made their first studio recording (local label), titled “Big Boy.” Not only did it turn out to be a local hit, but it set the stage for a partnership with Motown Records (1969) and subsequent appearances on the top-rated Ed Sullivan Show, American Bandstand, Soul Train, and later, their own primetime television series in 1976, on CBS. In addition to this, Tito and his brothers’ soaring popularity with America’s youth was so captivating that they were captioned in a Saturday morning, ABC TV animation series.
Tito and his brothers signed with Epic Records and officially came under a new name, The Jacksons, in 1976. In 1978 he co-wrote the songs “Everybody,” “Destiny,” and “Push Away” for his new record label. As the group The Jackson’s, including Tito, they self-produced the Destiny album. Later, for the Victory album Tito produced, wrote, and sang on “We Can Change The World,” which was featured on their popular Victory Tour.
A father of three men (Taj, Taryll, and TJ), known to the music world as 3T, Tito works closely with his sons. This is consistent with the fine direction that he received from his loving mother Katherine and his caring father Joe. In addition to working with sisters Janet, Rebbie, and La Toya, Tito has worked with countless fine musicians, singers, and producers, such as the preeminent production team of Gamble & Huff, LA Reid & Baby Face, and the versatile Howard Hewitt.
One of the performing highlights of the remarkable career of Tito Jackson is the unforgettable reunion performance on one of histories most watched television specials, Motown 25. The show signalled a pivotal point in his dazzling career and an auspicious focus on likely the greatest performer to ever grace a stage, Michael Jackson. In 1997 Tito and his brothers were ceremonially honoured as inductees of the well-respected Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Tito’s initial success with the recording masterpieces “I Want You Back,” “Never Can Say Goodbye”, “I’ll Be There,” (bestselling single in Motown’s history), and other mega-hits is the genesis of an indefatigable trek into modern musical immortality. Tito Jackson’s eclectic musical arrow is aimed in the direction of diverse genres, R& B, blues, and pop. And at this juncture, Tito plans a series of recording ventures that will include a solo debut album featuring a caravan of styles. Although some of his numerous influences include blues greats Albert Collins and B.B. King, in reality his musical tastes defy nomenclature. Some projects will include collaborations with his son’s group, 3T, while other CD’s may involve his creative siblings along with collaborations from an assemblage of noteworthy artists. However, make no mistake about it, most of his work will consist of impressive solo projects with songs that are arranged, produced, and performed by Tito himself. Presently he is in the process of completing his new project for a 2009 global release. By doing this, fans around the globe will experience the true essence of Tito Jackson as a premier solo artist and as one of music industries’ group icons. Tito and his band, sporting a frenetic pulse, will also rock the world again through a number of riveting live shows.
The measure of Tito Jackson’s influence can be best captured by expressions such as these: “One of the kindest, more pleasant people in show business,” said a major entertainment publicist. His brother Michael also had this to say about him, “Tito is very quiet and soft, but can be really strong when necessary. He’s always there when we need him and manages to project an inner calm which is vital within a family unit ”. Those statements have proven to be consistently true through the ups and downs of the exciting but rigorous show business lifestyle. As an international artist, the demure Tito has garnered great respect from his peers and fans alike. His emphasis on fairness and loyalty in the music business community is a hallmark of his aplomb and selfless style.
Tito’s love of music can be transcended only by his undying love of God, family, and friends. Tito’s mark on music history and the rich legacy that he established is one that has stood the test of time and is one that will flourish for as long as there is a song to sing!
Lead Guitar https://www.nbc.com/the-voice/video/michael-lee-blind-audition-the-thrill-is-gone/3801012 Michael Lee is a Fort Worth based Blues artist. Featured as a contestant for the 2018 Season of the Voice. Where his soul and energy was unmatched and unlike the show has ever seen. Raised around blues music his entire life, Michael spent the majority of his young life in blues clubs receiving an ivy league education from watching and playing with blues legends such as Andrew “Jr Boy” Jones (Freddie King), Buddy Whittington (John Mayall), Lucky Peterson (Willie Dixon). On nights he was not in the blues clubs he was down in the stockyards soaking in the Country sounds which emanated from those honky tonks. Like Delbert McClinton and many Fort Worth musicians before him, Michael’s style of music has the perfect blend of Blues and Country. Michael Lee released his first record in 2014, released two singles in the summer of 2018 “Here I Am” and “Heart of Stone” and is releasing his sophomore record in 2019.
James “Boogaloo” Bolden (played with BB King 35 years) Trumpet/Lead Vocals/Backing Vocals Born in Houston, TX, James Bolden began his musical training under the guidance of Edmund C. Broussard. Bolden later seized the opportunity to study classical trumpet under Houston Symphony Trumpeter Richard Schafer. James went on to play with local union bands that performed with a wide array of artists such as Stevie Wonder, Isaac Hayes, Temptations, Supremes, Spinners, and James Brown. Bolden eventually was given the opportunity to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra where he thrived for years. Bolden later joined the band of B.B. King and became bandleader during a stint of over 35 years. James Bolden now continues his association with B.B. King by joining B.B. King’s Band as bandleader.
Russell Jackson (played with BB King 17 years)
Bass Guitar/Lead Vocals/Backing Vocals Starting his 41-year career in 1974, Russell Jackson moved to Chicago in 1976 and gained his blues stripes working with Otis Clay, Buddy Guy, Bobby Rush, and others like Charlie Musselwhite and WIllie Nelson. For 8 years, Russell toured exclusively with B.B. King as his bass guitarist. Jackson was the first artist to put slap bass on a live blues recording, (Live at Old Miss 1979). During the 1990’s, he recorded with Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne on his Juno Award winning CD. In 1992, the Russell Jackson Band debuted and Jackson released three CD’s of his own material. Present day, Russell is the Music Director for the New Generations of the Blues European Tours, formerly known as The Chicago Blues Festival. Jackson was welcomed into the B.B. King’s Blues Band because of his extraordinary talent.
Eric Demmer (played with BB King 2 years)
Saxophone “Hear what you feel, play what you hear.” At the age of 10, Eric received his first saxophone, so began the journey of a natural-born musician playing anywhere at any time with anyone. One night, Eric was invited to perform onstage with the legendary Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown at a Houston club known as “Billy Blues.” On that night, Eric joined Gate’s band and traveled all over the world for the next 12 years utnil Gate’s death in 2005. The journey with Gate included performing as the opening act for Eric Clapton’s “From the Cradle Tour.” This gave Eric the opportunity to perform with many well-known and respected musicians, ie. Carlos Santana, George Duke, Joe Sample, David Sanborn, and B.B. King. Buddy Guy, the Allman Brothers, and Dr. John were among many others.
Guitar and Vocals
Wilbert A. Crosby is a guitarist, producer and music instructor that was born in Chicago, IL. Currently based in Chicago, Crosby has had the opportunity to perform and record with a varied group of artists like Pops Staples, Mavis Staples, Aretha Franklin, Charlélie Couture, and Carey Bell. A love for Blues, Gospel, Jazz and Soul music has always been a part of his life at an early age. Being that his father was a local tenor saxophone player in Chicago back in the 1950’s and his god-father was Howlin’ Wolf’s blues drummer S.P. Leary, Crosby was always surrounded by legendary artists. By the time Wilbert was 10 years old he was playing guitar with his father’s band during practice sessions. In 1983, Wilbert began playing with Pops Staples and went on his first international tour and further learned other aspects of the music industry. Already interested in composition, had the opportunity to compose and arrange for other artists which included Carey Bell. Out of their collaboration and creative efforts, the album, “Good Luck Man” (1997) won the W.C. Handy’s Award. Accolades have adorned Crosby’s career. He obtained the Albert King award in 1996 and has performed at the White House during the Clinton and Bush administrations. He performed the Grammy awarded song, “Have A Little Faith” with Mavis Staples at the 2005 Grammy Awards. Additionally, he played with Pops Staples at the 1995 Grammy Awards in an all-star jam with Bonnie Raitt, Phil Upchurch, WahWah Watson, Isaac Hayes & Maria Muldar. Wilbert also has the honor of product endorsements for Elixir Strings and Reunion Blues Guitar Cases.
Lamar Boulet Trumpet
Lamar was raised in Lafayette, LA, but got his start in the music business in New Orleans. It was there he was able to study and work with some of the legends in New Orleans such as Ellis Marsalis, his first teacher in the study of jazz. As an undergraduate, he studied with the incomparable Vince DiMartino at the University of Kentucky before receiving his masters degree at the University of Miami. Lamar later moved to Orlando and worked at Disney as a composer/arranger, musician. Carnival Cruise Lines hired him as Musical Director and he spent 4 years in charge of musicians and talent. He also toured with Grammy Award winning Latin artist, Tito Nieves. Lamar now lives in Houston, TX, where he freelances and teachers. Lamar is honored to be a new member of B.B. King’s Blues Band.
Darrell Lavigne (played with BB King 1 year) Keyboards/Vocals Darrell Lavigne has been performing on stages around the world, most notably New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Rotterdam JVC Jazz Festival- Netherlands, and Berlin Jazz Festival- Germany. Lavigne began his musical life at age 10, first on guitar then trumpet. It wasn’t until his senior year that he decided piano would be his instrument of choice. “I wanted to explore harmony and the colors of music. Piano represented that for me.” Darrell’s influences came for the usual jazz sources as Monk, Bud Powell, Ahmad Jamal, Hancock, and Corea. Charlie Parker, Coltrane, and Miles Davis rounded out the crew. Early musical exposure in addition to the mentoring by Ellis Marsalis and Edward “Kidd” Jordan helped Lavigne become one of the most sought-after pianists around. Darrell has gone on to record two albums with then Columbia Jazz Artist, Kent Jordan, write for one (Night Aire) and produce another (Out of This World). Over the years, Darrell has performed with artists Kirk Whalum, Marion Meadows, George Duke, Hubert/Ronnie Laws, and Everette Harp to name a few. Though he’s respected as a pianist/keyboardist, he continues to produce and write for a number of artists. Discography: Blue Orleans (Fertile Crescent, 2000); Kidd Jordan/IAQ-Kidd Stuff (Danjor); Michael Ward-After The Kiss (Sweet Music Records, 2006).