Henry Gray may well be Louisiana's oldest active legendary master Blues pianist. At 86, with a career that spans over six decades, Henry continues to deliver his rollicking, two-fisted boogie-woogies and passionate blues to people throughout the world.
Perhaps best known as Howlin' Wolf's pianist, he was also a much-in-demand session player for the Chess and Vee-Jay labels, recording with artists such as Jimmy Reed, Little Walter, Muddy Waters, Oits Rush, Billy Boy Arnold, and Bo Diddley. Not only is Henry hailed for his contribution to post WW II Chicago blues, he is also recognized as one of the key contributors to Louisiana's unique 'Swamp Blues' sound.
As David Kunian wrote in Blues Access, "Henry Gray's influence is immeasurable. If you've listened to blues music in the last half-century, you've heard pianist Henry Gray... he recorded and played with everybody... he helped create the blueprint for Chicago blues piano and all that it would be... Henry pioneered the sound of electric piano in Chicago blues. Whenever you hear someone play a familiar blues riff or turnaround on the piano, there is a good chance they learned it from Henry Gray - or someone who learned it off Henry Gray."
Henry Gray was born in Kenner, Louisiana on January 19, 1925. As a youngster, it seemed that Henry's future was already set - he would follow his relatives into a work cycle in the fields that stretched until noon every Saturday. But sneaking around the 'jukes' as young boy, Henry soon discovered that his talent on the piano could put him in the spotlight. So, around the age of 14, with his father in tow, Henry began his 70-year career as a blues musician in the joints adjoining the Louisiana cotton fields.
About Chris James and Patrick Rynn
Neither Chris nor Patrick can fully explain their ESP-like musical compatibility. “When I started playing with Chris, I didn’t know anything,” ventures Patrick, whose bass influences in addition to Dave Myers include Willie Kent, Ransom Knowling, and Big Crawford (as you might expect after encountering the latter two names, he’s just as conversant on upright bass as on electric). “Because I’ve learned all that stuff, I have the tools and I have the way of playing to make the chemistry between me and Chris just work.”
Blues Fans have long been well aware of vocalist and lead guitarist Chris James and bassist Patrick Rynn as the leaders of their own band, the Blue Four, as well as for their stellar work with a dazzling array of blues legends. Gonna Boogie Anyway, their second album for the Earwig label following their Blues Music Award-nominated 2008 set Stop And Think About It, triumphantly marks the latest chapter for the San Diego-based duo, whose high-energy approach remains deeply rooted in traditional electric blues from Chicago to all points south.
Biscuits & Blues
401 Mason Street
San Francisco, CA
Tue Nov 1 (7:30pm & 9:30pm)
Wed Nov 2 (7:30pm & 9:30pm)
Thu Nov 3 (7:30pm & 9:30pm)