Monday, April 20, 2009

Lucky and the Doctor Come To Town

This is a very busy week of music here in Middletown but, for this posting, I wish to focus on just 3 shows.

Friday April 24, Boney's Music Lounge, situated above Fishbone Cafe, lower Court Street, welcomes blues man Lucky Peterson for a 9 p.m. show. Peterson, who excels on guitar and keyboards (he also sings, plays bass, trumpet and is also a darned good drummer), has been performing since the age of 3. He recorded his first single (remember 45 rpm records?) when he was 5 and that was produced by the legendary Willie Dixon. As a novelty act, Peterson appeared on major television shows such as "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson."

He's been on the road as a solo act since the late 1980s and has released numerous CDs for Alligator Records and Verve. While there is a "jazzy" side to his music, Peterson is a hellacious guitar player, playing "stinging" solos behind his full-throated vocals.

To get a taste of Lucky's music, go to To find out more about Boney's Lounge and Friday's show, call 346-6000.

Friday and Saturday (4/24 & 25), Wesleyan celebrates its annual Jazz Weekend. On the first night, the Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra, Jay Hoggard, music director, and the Wesleyan Jazz Ensemble, Noah Baerman, music director, perform classic jazz compositions by composers such as Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Oliver Nelson and more. The concert, free and open to the public, takes place at 8 p.m. in Crowell Concert Hall.

Saturday evening at 8 p.m., Dr. Lonnie Smith (pictured above), one of the funkiest Hammond B-3 organ artists in the world, takes the stage at Crowell for an evening of jazz, r'n'b, soul music, and uplifting sounds. Like Lucky Peterson, Smith is a native of Buffalo, Nw York, and has been active on the jazz scene for nearly 5 decades. He learned to play organ listening to Jimmy Smith (no relation), Bill Doggett, and gospel music. Smith began gigging in Buffalo nightclubs and came to the attention of numerous musicians, including guitarist George Benson. His first recording date paired him with guitarist Grant Green and, with Benson's help, signed a contract with Columbia Records, who released his first Lp. Smith soon moved to Blue Note Records and his career took off.

Over the years, he's recorded several dozen CDs and Lps and has appeared on many more. In 2004, he signed with Palmetto and has seen a resurgence in his career. His new recording, "Rise Up!", features guitarist Peter Bernstein and 2 great New Orleans players, Donald Harrison (alto saxophone) and Herlin Riley (drums.) Most of the music are original Smith compositions and there's a "swampy"version of The Beatles' "Come Together" and a low-down bluesy take on Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams." You can listen to the disc by clicking here.

For Saturday's "hit", joining the Doctor will be 2 fine young musicians, guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and drummer Obed Calvaire. For ticket information, call 685-3355 or go to

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