This is an open-ended blog ranging from news about my latest gigs and publications
to ruminations about politics, world affairs, culture and whatever piques my interest—or ire.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

STEVE BLAILOCK, 1944 - 2013

Steve Blailock had moved to Texas by the time I arrived in New Orleans in 2007, but he was the kind of guy that people talked about even when he wasn't there. I met him at the Palm Court during one of his periodic visits and he more than lived up to his reputation as a passionate and inventive jazz guitarist. His whole body would get into the music—feet stomping, head nodding, torso rocking forward and back as played. He could play any kind of music, but was especially impressive on blues numbers like "Trouble in Mind" or "Careless Love" where his Mississippi Delta roots came through loud and clear. I played with him from time to time when he was in town, and though I did not know him as well as some of the guys he had played with regularly during his New Orleans years, I felt a special bond with him. Maybe it was his Mississippi accent, which reminded me of my Mother's family in Jackson; maybe it was the good-old-boy warmth of his manner and the unaffected enthusiasm he exuded whenever he was on the bandstand. We always greeted each other with a big bear hug and enjoyed playing together. I knew he had had trouble with drugs and alcohol in the past, and some musicians recalled that he had a terrible temper in those days. But as far as I could see he had kicked all that. Who knows what led him to shoot his Chinese wife and blow his own brains out on July 19? Perhaps all the passion that went into his music also had a dark side. Perhaps something just snapped in his brain. But I can't help thinking that if he'd had a guitar in his hands at that fatal moment instead of a gun, we'd still be looking forward to his next visit to the Palm Court. Rest easy, old friend. Your music still echoes in our hearts.

No comments:

Post a Comment