I had the honor to go see Buddy Guy play at his own club recently. I am ashamed to say that I hadn’t ever done this before. Here are some random thoughts.
Scott Holt, who used to play guitar with Buddy warmed up. He led a very tight three piece group through blues originals and standards. The fact that he covered John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom Boom” showed that his mentor holds him in high regard as the tune is usually one Guy covers himself. Holt is a very good guitarist and played a great set.
While Holt is a fluid and technically very impressive guitar player, Buddy Guy is something else. There are starts and stops and sounds you don’t quite to know what to make of… and then the set starts. And now you know. What makes the difference between a really good guitar player and a living legend. Everything Buddy Guy plays works towards the good of the song. He can still flat out wail at 76 and he is a really good singer, but what he does musically – man, band, song, is something special. Totally comfortable in his own club, Guy walked around playing some unbelievable licks while his all-star band kept the tempo solid throughout. He was equally adept covering his contemporaries like Muddy Waters or John Lee Hooker or playing tunes he’s written the last few years.