...In-between sets from poet Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

August 26, 2012

O Happy Night

Such a night, such a night, such a night!  The Room was beside itself this past weekend, graced with the magnificent talent of Mr. Henry Gray, on keyboard.  If you're a big fan of Howlin' Wolf, that's Mr. Gray playing on those songs for over a decade of musical history and perfection.  If you love "Little Red Rooster," that's Mr. Gray on piano.  If you love ANY American music since the 40's and 50's, you have Mr. Gray and his colleagues to thank.  He's played, too, with other American Greats: Jimmy Reed, Junior Wells, Bo Diddley, Willie Dixon. This is the man every band you're currently listening to was listening to in order for them to start banging out their rock 'n roll and alternative indie.  This man.  An unforgettable night of boogie woogie and blues.

You see those talented musicians onstage playing with him?  Bob Corritore, harmonica; Chris James, guitar; Brian Fahey, drums; Patrick Rynn, bass.  You see how they're looking over in Mr. Gray's direction?  They don't need to work the eye cues, they're too talented themselves for that.  They know where the song is going.  You know why they're watching that man?  Because a legend is playing those keys. A legend was in the Room that night.

Pssst! Want to know what makes a bluesman different from other men?  I asked Mr. Gray if he needed some help getting back onstage after a break and he replied, "Naah, I can jump back up there!"  87-year-old man, playing 'till 1:00 in the morning.  That's a bluesman.  And, oooh, that hug he gave!

Mr. Henry Gray and harpman Bob Corritore

Mr. Henry Gray and bassman Patrick Rynn

"If you see my little red rooster
please drag him home,
there ain't no peace in the barnyard
since the little red rooster been gone."

(Lyrics by Mr. Willie Dixon)

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