Top Pick: Blues prodigy headlines Bratislava Jazz Days

October 19 - 21
Born to a family of musicians, New York native Lucky Peterson began playing music before he entered kindergarten. By age four, he was tickling the keys of his family's Hammond B-3 organ. When he was six, he recorded his first rhythm and blues hit, 1-2-3-4, with blues legend Willie Dixon. With his father as a teacher, Peterson mastered both guitar and organ and had become an accomplished singer by age eight.
Today, the grown-up Peterson, 37, is a blues star in his own right, having recorded seven solo albums and performed in concert halls around the world. Next weekend he will bring his many years of experience to Bratislava's annual Jazz Days festival, where he will take centre stage Sunday night, October 21 at 23:30.


Bluesman Lucky Peterson
photo: James Minchin

October 19 - 21

Born to a family of musicians, New York native Lucky Peterson began playing music before he entered kindergarten. By age four, he was tickling the keys of his family's Hammond B-3 organ. When he was six, he recorded his first rhythm and blues hit, 1-2-3-4, with blues legend Willie Dixon. With his father as a teacher, Peterson mastered both guitar and organ and had become an accomplished singer by age eight.

Today, the grown-up Peterson, 37, is a blues star in his own right, having recorded seven solo albums and performed in concert halls around the world. Next weekend he will bring his many years of experience to Bratislava's annual Jazz Days festival, where he will take centre stage Sunday night, October 21 at 23:30.

"It will be this top American bluesman's only concert this year in eastern Europe," said Pavel Daněk, festival organiser.

Peterson's music is an electrifying mix of rock, folk and blues. A sample is available at www.bjd.miesto.sk, including Mercenary Baby, a laid back jam between two organs and a growling guitar, with a hint of funk. On Don't Try to Explain Peterson's soulful voice floats over a rolling blues/spiritual hybrid. His repertoire also includes songs by Luther Allison, Earl King, Prince and Jimi Hendrix.

"All of it's blues to me and I try to play it in my own style," he said. "An audience wants to have fun, and I can entertain it with any song as long as my heart and soul are in it."


Peterson will close the Bratislava Jazz Days
photo: James Minchin

As a teenager, Peterson played in the bands of Etta James and Otis Rush. The list of legends he's performed with is long and distinguished, including B.B. King and Albert Collins. Although he started as a toddler, his solo career didn't begin until 1989. Since then he has become one of the US's leading blues musicians. Down Beat music magazine named him best blues man in 2000.

In Bratislava he will perform with a saxophone, trombone, drums, trumpet and bass. Peterson's concert begins at 23:30 Sunday, October 21. Another 13 jazz and blues bands will perform at Jazz Days, beginning October 19 and running until October 21, at Bratislava's PKO culture centre, Špitálska 25.

Tickets are on sale (Sk340 in advance and Sk380 at the door for one evening, Sk880 for the whole festival) at the PKO culture centre's box office, Špitálska 25. Tel: 02/5292-5023; www.ticketportal.sk.

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