David “Honey Boy” Edwards, believed to have been the oldest surviving Delta bluesman and whose roots stretched back to blues legend Robert Johnson, was born on this day in 1915. He died in August 2011.
A tireless advocate of the blues, Edwards told The Associated Press in 2008: “Blues ain’t never going anywhere. It can get slow, but it ain’t going nowhere. You play a lowdown dirty shame slow and lonesome, my mama dead, my papa across the sea I ain’t dead but I’m just supposed to be blues. You can take that same blues, make it uptempo, a shuffle blues, that’s what rock `n’ roll did with it. So blues ain’t going nowhere. Ain’t goin’ nowhere.”
Louis Armstrong recorded King Oliver’s West End Blues on this day in 1928. Its 15-second opening cadenza has become one of the most influential and hard-to-copy solos in jazz history.
“… it was ‘West End Blues,’ ” wrote the eminent jazz educator and composer Gunther Schuller, “that made it clear jazz could never again revert to being entertainment or folk music. The clarion call of ‘West End Blues’ served notice that jazz could compete with the highest order of musical expression. Like any profoundly creative innovation, ‘West End Blues’ summarized the past and predicted the future.”
Vocalist Tierney Sutton was born on this day in 1963. A three-time Grammy Nominee , Tierney Sutton is known as a “singer’s singer” or more accurately, a “musician’s singer”. She’s dedicated to teamwork, as in not fronting the band, but being a collaborator and full musical partner. She’s also dedicated to improving grammar in the United States, but that’s another story…
Since this is also the day in 1985 that Route 66, the 59-year-old, 2,200 mile long road that carried so many westward, was decertified as a U.S. highway, here’s the Tierney Sutton Band’s treatment of the classic song.