BB King
" B. B. King: Live At Montreux 1993 "
Eagle Eye DVD

Blueswax 9
Rating 8

Very Prime Time B.B., (01/28/10)

B.B. King is sixty-seven years old here, and man, oh, man, he's raring to go! This '93 recording captures the orchestra in dynamite form. This DVD kicks from end to end. Second guitarist Leon Warren is so tasty, and King extends some well deserved playing time for him, as he does with the horn section. Zone in on sax-man Melvin Jackson and longtime trumpeter James 'Boogaloo' Bolden. Bassist Michael Doster also gets some solo space, and James Toney shines on keys. This is one very tight band, but make no mistake, the King of the Blues is clearly on top of his game with tons of extended and exciting solos with his powerful vocals.

Clocking in at nearly one hundred minutes, there's a lot to like here, starting with the band (sans B.B.) When Riley B. King does hit the stage, he roars through an instrumental version of "Let The Good Times Roll" that's just killing! Other highlights include Will Jennings and Joe Sample's "When It All Comes Down (I'll Still Be Around)" which is deliciously funky. Louis Jordan's "Caldonia" is another triumph, as is the Carl Adams/B.B. authored instrumental "All Over Again" where B.B. just wails. At this point, King is giving it his all, and sweating profusely! Robert Cray's "Playing With My Friends" is another good one, as is Jerry Ragovoy's soulful "Ain't Nobody Home." Dave Clark and B.B.'s "Why I Sing the Blues" is also full throttled where extended time is given to the wonderful bass player Michael Doster.

All in all, this is one very exciting set that adds to the great B.B.'s aura as the unrefuted King of the Blues. The audio and video are squeaky clean and sharp, plus it was especially nice to see all the musicians in the band credited. Eagle's Arnie Goodman's liners are fact-filled and well done, and my only minor quibble is that the song listings offer no writing credits. In brief summary, this is one very fine capture of the great B.B. King and his orchestra that will delight his fans, guitar aficionados, and anyone who digs timeless music. Enjoy!

Bob Putignano: