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John Mayall

Thu, Jul 17 -
Sun, Jul 20, 2014

Doors open at 6:00 PM each night.
First sets begin at 7:30 PM, and second sets (when applicable) begin at 9:30 PM (doors: 9:15 PM).
$26.50 Free parking

The Pacific Jazz Institute at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley welcomes iconic bluesman John Mayall and his band touring in support of his new release A Special Life , his first studio release in five years. Band members joining Mr. Mayall are Greg Rzab (bass), Rocky Athas (guitar) and Jay Davenport (drums).

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"As far as being a blues-guitar sideman, the Bluesbreakers gig is the pinnacle. That’s Mount Everest… This guy features you. You get to play solos. He yells your name after every song, brings you to the front of the stage, and lets you sing. He creates a place for you in the world." -
Walter Trout

As 2013 came to a close, and with his 80th birthday mere weeks away, the godfather of British blues quietly entered a North Hollywood Studio with his band, special guest C.J. Chenier and co- producer/engineer Eric Corne. He walked out with one of the finest and most personal records of his career, A Special Life.

The aptly-titled A Special Life serves as further testament to John Mayall’s boundless talent, vitality and ever-dynamic personality. Along with his accomplished band, he goes back to his roots on the new album with an eclectic mix of songs centered in the blues, but with diversions into rock and Americana. Backing Mayall on the new album are Texas guitarist Rocky Athas and a Chicago-based rhythm section of Greg Rzab on bass and Jay Davenport on drums. The current band lineup came together five years ago for his last studio album, Tough, and has developed an amazing chemistry over the years through consistent touring both in the U.S. and around the world. Athas came on the recommendation of Mayall’s former guitarist Buddy Whittington, and quickly asserted himself as a major force in the band. After Rzab came onboard to play bass, he recommended Davenport for the drum spot and the group was complete. Since 2009, the new, leaner four-piece lineup has given John more room to stretch out as an instrumentalist.

After being invited to do a guest spot on Walter Trout’s latest album, John met engineer/producer Eric Corne. John was so impressed that he asked Eric to record his new album. Greg, Jay and Rocky flew in for the sessions which took less than a week to record, and the end result is one of John's best albums ever, with its deep devotion to blues and roots music. Accordion legend C.J. Chenier makes a powerhouse guest appearance on a couple of tracks, including the opener, “Why Did You Go Last Night,” written and previously recorded by his father, Zydeco icon Clifton Chenier. A Special Life also includes three new songs penned by John and a reworked Mayall classic to go along with covers of Jimmy Rogers (“That’s All Right”), Albert King (Floodin’ in California”), Sonny Landreth (“Speak of the Devil”), Jimmy McCracklin (“I Just Got to Know”) and Eddie Taylor (Big Town Playboy”), plus a new song written by Greg Rzab and Rocky Athas.

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Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward

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