Soul Jazz and Blues legend Lucky Peterson in Oslo: Video, Photos

- in BLUES, CONCERTS, VIDEOS

Lucky Peterson is the subject of much attention this year. He adorns the cover of the latest issue of American Living Blues, and his concert on Saturday, August 17 at the Cosmopolite under the auspices of the Oslo Jazz Festival is part of his tour “The Blues Are Back!” On the occasion of the 50th anniversary as an artist. (Photo: Phil Honley).

YouTube has 241 videos featuring Lucky Peterson. One of them is “1-2-3-4”, released in 1969 when he was five years old. The text has three stanzas that consist of counting from 1 to 12 in the call response event from James Brown’s “Please, Please, Please”. He wrestles as a full-blooded soul vocalist for rocking accompaniment from his Hammond B-3. The voice of one of the choristers is suspiciously similar to Willie Dixon. At least it was he who produced this sensational child star who placed so high on the R&B Hot 100 that year, that he was invited to perform on both The Tonight Show and Ed Sullivan Show.

His father James Peterson was a blues musician himself and ran The Governor’s Inn in Buffalo, New York. Here played the biggest of the big ones: Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed and Bill Doggett. Lucky was particularly fascinated by the Hammond B-3 instrument to the latter, and thus he received first-hand training from the master himself. At eight years old, he was able to supplement organ playing with guitar. As a seventeen-year-old, he begins his three-year service as a keyboardist in Little Milton’s band, followed by three years of the same job in Bobby’s “Blue” mix before going solo and getting a “flying start” with Florida-based producer Bob Greenlee standing behind his two sensational albums Lucky Strikes (1989) and Triple Play (1990) on Alligator. They are still considered among his best releases in an increasingly impressive series of albums released on various record labels.
In the early ’90s he was also active in the studio with artists such as Kenny Neal, Otis Rush and Etta James. The album Ready Ready (1992) on Gitanes also had distribution in Norway and was a dynamic blues mix of rock and soul elements. Later his albums have been released by various French companies and the English blues brand JSP, with limited Norwegian distribution, which has probably contributed to his low profile in this country.

There are many live recordings that confirm his reputation as a concert artist, but it is the studio records that show his wide reach throughout the field from delta blues via gospel, rock, R&B, funk and soul jazz with his own songs covered by Howlin ‘Wolf, Bobby Bland, Prince, Donney Hathaway and Leon Russell (“A Song For You” is called “Singing This Song 4U”), to name a few.

Souljazz- og blueslegenden Lucky Peterson i Oslo

Peterson would have been a blues star just by virtue of his vocal and guitar skills, but while at the same time a star on Hammond B-3, he is far in the jazz sky as well. His great musical mentor is Jimmy Smith, which is why his soul jazz album Tribute to Jimmy Smith, released at French Jazz Village in 2017, deserves special attention. Here he plays highlights from the Blue Note era to Smith. In 2009 he released the album Organ Soul in French Universal, with songs from different champions of the genre. The total musician Lucky Peterson as he is today is perhaps best represented with the 2014 album The Son of a Bluesman.

With him at Cosmopolite on Saturday he has his band, The Organization, with. wife Tamara Stovall Peterson as vocalist: Lucky Peterson – vocals, guitar, Hammond B-3, Tamara Stovall Peterson – vocals, Rachied Guissons – keyboard, Alain Nyame – bass and Julien Charlet – drums.

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