Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy birthday wishes to Little Sonny, Johnnie Bassett

Little Sonny at the Magic Bag
At rehearsal with our band MotorCity Tones on Monday, we celebrated the birthday of singer-guitarist Mark Grablowski with a cheesecake and a rousing chorus of “Sto lat.” My birthday follows a week later.
Joe Ballor and Mark Grablowski of the MotorCity Tones
It started me thinking about the birthdays of four of my favorite Detroit blues musicians, which all fall within six days.
Johnnie Bassett
Singer-harmonica player Aaron “Little Sonny” Willis turns 79 on Oct. 6. Anyone lucky enough to attend his concert at the Magic Bag in Ferndale earlier this year will attest that he can still deliver some of the funkiest, energetic blues you’ll ever hear. Little Sonny looks and moves like a man two (or three) decades younger.

Another veteran Detroit bluesman, who is still performing regularly, is singer-guitarist Johnnie Bassett, who celebrates his 76th birthday on Oct. 9. Detroit’s “Gentleman of the Blues” shares his birthday with singer-guitarist Luther “Badman” Keith. Another fine musician, singer-guitarist Howard Glazer, celebrates a birthday on Oct. 11.
Howard Glazer
You can catch Johnnie Bassett on Mondays at Third Bar, 701 W. Forest in Detroit. Howard Glazer and his band, the EL 34s, are joined by veteran Detroit bluesman Emmanuel Young as they host an open blues jam on  Thursdays at The Comet Bar, 128 Henry, Detroit.

Happy birthday wishes for many more years of health and happiness, my friends!

Detroit Blues Society Meeting and Jam

The Detroit Blues Society Meeting and Jam is set for Saturday, Oct. 8 at Shelly Kelly’s Pub, 18339 E. 14 Mile Road in Fraser. This month’s host is the Garfield Blues Band, featuring singer-harmonica player Garfield Angove, guitarist Paul Carey, bassist Mike Marshall, drummer RJ Spangler and special guest, guitarist Kenny Parker. The event always attracts lots of top jammers. There’s no cover charge.

To contact JB Blues, please email

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