Saturday, June 08, 2013

Phil Wiggins and the Chesapeake Sheiks

It was a wonderful evening at the State Theatre in Falls Church Virginia last night as the Tinner Hill Blues Festival kicked off with a terrific evening of acoustic blues headlined by John Hammond.

Opening was Phil Wiggins and the Chesapeake Sheiks which surprised and delighted with a performance that included some gypsy jazz inflected swing as well as blues. What a terrific set of material that included Duke Ellington's "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me," the standard "Rosetta" that is best associated with Earl 'Fatha' Hines and "Roberta," which was one of the great tunes that Phil did with John Cephas.

The excellent band included Matt Kelley on guitar, Marcus Moore on violin, Eric Shranek on bass and Ian Walters on piano. It was a refreshing set and when I asked about whether this showed a bit of the late Howard Armstrong's influence after the show, Phil mentioned he had done some of this material with the late West Virginia performer, Nat Reese.

Roy Bookbinder was marvelous with his wry humor, wonderful guitar playing (one of Reverend Gary Davis' students) and John Hammond conjured up Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker and Big Joe Williams in a fabulous set.

I should mention that I am a volunteer with this wonderful festival that continues today at Cherry Hill Park.

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