Mr. Blues and Oscar Rivers join forces for Jazz Legends

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James Island’s How Art Thou jazz cafe and tapas bar (1956 Maybank Hwy.) will host a special night of blues on Sun. May 22 called Jazz Legends: A Tribute. The gig will feature “two of Charleston’s best-kept secrets:" Oscar Rivers and Ermitt Williams.

Pianist and saxophonist Rivers is a master bebop player who made a name for himself in 1970s Chicago playing with everyone from James Brown and Sonny Stitt to Charlie Parker, Stevie Wonder, BB King, the Temptations, the Jackson Five, and the Quincy Jones Orchestra.

Meanwhile, Williams, a vocalist better known as Mr. Blues, moved to Charleston 13 years ago from New York, where he appeared in numerous renowned jazz joints, like Harlem’s Lenox Lounge and Greenwich Village’s Village Gate, and on Showtime at the Apollo. Since settling down South, he’s released 2003’s A Tribute to Joe Williams and 2006 album Just for You, which includes Porgy and Bess favorite, “Summertime,” a track Williams says should be Charleston’s official theme song.

Tickets are $10, and the music stars at 7 p.m. To reserve your seats, go to howartthoucafe.com.

Rivers and Williams are also both featured in An Encyclopedia of South Carolina Jazz and Blues Musicians, compiled by Benjamin Franklin V. Out this month, the book documents the careers of South Carolinian jazz and blues musicians from the 19th century to the present.

An Encyclopedia of South Carolina Jazz and Blues Musicians was published by the University of South Carolina Press. For more info, go to sc.edu/uscpress/southcarolina.html


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