The B.B. King Blues Band are thrilled to announce their new partnership with The B.B. King Estate. This joint venture now finds the two forces working together to bring the world The B.B. King Experience, the band’s new working name. In addition to the upcoming world tour (dates listed below), the single “Rock Me Baby” featuring George Benson, Tito Jackson and Claudette King will be released this summer.
Five years since the passing of the great B.B. King, his towering influence over the blues world, and beyond, remains undimmed. King’s music will never be forgotten, and the iconic bluesman’s presence is felt stronger than ever as his spirit will appear on tour. With over 100 years of cumulative experience between them, the “Experience” not only supported King, but they would start each show by performing onstage before B.B. came on-stage. The B.B. King Experience’s current line-up includes: James ‘Boogaloo’ Bolden (trumpet). Russell Jackson (bass and vocals), Wilbert Crosby (guitar and cocals), Darrell Lavigne (keyboards). Claudette King (vocals) and Myron ‘Big Jack’ jackson (trumpet.)
The bands last album was released in May 2019 and debuted at #1 in the Billboard Blues Charts. The Soul of the King featured many a-listers inluding Taj Mahal, Joe Louis Walker, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Kenny Neal & Michael Lee.
ABOUT THE BAND
James ‘Boogaloo’ Bolden (trumpet/lead & backing vocals)
Born in Houston, TX, James Bolden began his musical training under the guidance of Edmund C. Broussard. Bolden later seized the opportunity to study classical trumpet under Houston Symphony Trumpeter Richard Schafer. James went on to play with local union bands that performed with a wide array of artists such as Stevie Wonder, Isaac Hayes, Temptations, Supremes, Spinners, and James Brown. Bolden eventually was given the opportunity to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra where he thrived for years. Bolden later joined the band of B.B. King and became bandleader during a stint of over 35 years. James Bolden now continues his association with B.B. King by joining B.B. King’s Band as bandleader.
Claudette King (Vocals)
Blues/jazz/r&b/singer Claudette King, is the youngest daughter of ultimate blues master B.B. King and is quick to cite her father as her main “inspiration.” Trained in the gospel of the Baptist church from age 13, King has developed some of the emotional authority that one associates with her mighty mentors: Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Koko Taylor, Chaka Khan, Mavis Staples, Mahalia Jackson, even Michael Jackson. The affable singer will tell you: “I got a bit of everybody inside of me.” Conscientious and hard-working, she shows her own style, her own identity, through rhythm, phrasing, and timbre with ease and confidence. A long-time Californian, currently based in Atlanta, Claudette has released one European album to date.
Russell Jackson (bass guitar/lead Vocals/backing vocals)
Starting his 41-year career in 1974, Russell Jackson moved to Chicago in 1976 and gained his blues stripes working with Otis Clay, Buddy Guy, Bobby Rush, and others like Charlie Musselwhite and WIllie Nelson. For 8 years, Russell toured exclusively with B.B. King as his bass guitarist for over 17 years. Jackson was the first artist to put slap bass on a live blues recording, (Live at Old Miss 1979). During the 1990’s, he recorded with Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne on his Juno Award winning CD. In 1992, the Russell Jackson Band debuted and Jackson released three CD’s of his own material. Present day, Russell is the Music Director for the New Generations of the Blues European Tours, formerly known as The Chicago Blues Festival. Jackson was welcomed into the B.B. King’s Blues Band because of his extraordinary talent.
Wilbert Crosby (guitar and vocals)
Born and currently based in Chicago, Crosby has had the opportunity to perform and record with a diverse group of artists such as Pops Staples, Mavis Staples, Aretha Franklin, Charlélie Couture, and Carey Bell. A love for Blues, Gospel, Jazz and Soul music has been a part of his life since childhood. His father was a local tenor saxophone player in Chicago in the 1950’s and his godfather was Howlin’ Wolf’s blues drummer S.P. Leary, Crosby was always surrounded by legendary artists. By the time he was 10 years old, he was playing guitar with his father’s band during their rehearsals. In 1983, Wilbert began playing with Pops Staples and went on his first international tour. Already interested in composition, he had the opportunity to compose and arrange for other artists including Carey Bell. Out of their collaborations and creative efforts, the album, “Good Luck Man” (1997) won the W.C. Handy Award. Accolades have adorned Crosby’s career. He was awarded the Albert King award in 1996 and has performed at the White House during both the Clinton and Bush administrations. He performed the Grammy awarded song, “Have A Little Faith” with Mavis Staples at the 2005 Grammy Awards. Additionally, he played with Pops Staples at the 1995 Grammy Awards in an all-star jam with Bonnie Raitt, Phil Upchurch, WahWah Watson, Isaac Hayes & Maria Muldaur.
Darrell Lavigne (Keyboards/Vocals)
Lavigne has been performing on stages around the world, most notably New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Rotterdam JVC Jazz Festival Netherlands, and the Berlin Jazz Festival. He began his musical life at age 10, first on guitar then trumpet, but piano became his instrument of choice. “I wanted to explore harmony and the colors of music. Piano represented that for me.” Darrell’s influences came for the usual jazz sources as Monk, Bud Powell, Ahmad Jamal, Hancock, and Corea. Charlie Parker, Coltrane, and Miles Davis. Early musical exposure in addition to the mentoring by Ellis Marsalis and Edward “Kidd” Jordan helped Lavigne become one of the most sought-after pianists around. Darrell has gone on to record two albums with then Columbia Jazz Artist, Kent Jordan, write for one (Night Aire) and produce another (Out of This World). Over the years, Darrell has performed with artists BB King, BB King’s Blues Band, Kirk Whalum, Marion Meadows, George Duke, Hubert/Ronnie Laws, and Everette Harp to name a few. He continues to produce and write for a number of artists. Discography: Blue Orleans (Fertile Crescent, 2000); Kidd Jordan/IAQ-Kidd Stuff (Danjor); Michael Ward-After The Kiss (Sweet Music Records, 2006).
Mar 21—Burghausen Jazz Festival—Burghausen, Germany
Mar 28—Sac & Fox Casino—Powhattan, KS*
Apr 19—Tanje Ju—Dresden, Germany
Apr 20—Vienna Blues Festival—Vienna, Austria
Apr 22—Blues Festival Basel—Basel, Switzerland
Apr 23—Scala— Ludwigburg, Germany
Apr 24—Blue Note Idar—Oberstein, Germany
Apr 25—Harmonie—Bonn, Germany
Apr 26—Quasimodo—Berlin, Germany
Apr 27—Hamburg Blues Club—Hamburg, Germany
Apr 28—Musiktheater Piano—Dortmund, Germany
Apr 30—La Pigalle—Paris, France
May 1—Under the Bridge—London, England
May 2—Blues Garage—Hanover, Germany
May 24—Great Lakes Center for the Arts—Petoskey, MI
May 29—Vorstin City—Hilversum, Netherlands
May 30—Duvel Blues Festival—Puurs, Belgium
May 31—Rib City—Raathe, Netherlands
Jun 12—The Devon Lakeshore Ampitheatre—Decatur, IL
Jun 13—Tinner Hill Music Festival—Falls Church, VA
*featuring Tito Jackson