While the lineup for the New Orleans Jazz Festival is chronically bogged down with enough wayward jam band acts to keep the Crescent City smelling like patchouli for an epoch, the fifth annual Miami Blues Festival is headlined by Bobby "Blue" Bland, a living music legend who is without a doubt the world's greatest living Blues singer.
Bland first came to prominence in the late 1950s, when he cut a string of smoking tracks for memphis label Duke Records, most notably "Little Boy Blue" - which tagged him with his stage name that continues to stick with him today, a month removed from his 81st birthday. In the early 1960s, Bland crossed over to the pop charts with "Ain't Nothing You Can Do." Unfortunately, much like the late, great Solomon Burke - both musical and political segregation kept Bland from being the pop superstar his awesome vocal talents warranted.
But better to be a living legend, than a prematurely dead icon. Bland's Blues, Rock & Soul contemporaries may be better known to the average music fan, but save for Bland's ex-collaborator B.B. King, they aren't still on stage, knocking out audiences worldwide.
Joining Bland Saturday Night at the Miami Blues Festival are Miami Soul legend Lattimore ("Let's Straighten It Out"),and southern blues artists Mel Waiters, Sir Charles Jones and Theodis Ealey. Tickets are $49.50 and $57.00. Doors are at 7PM.