Tribute concerts honoring two incredible blues guitarists who passed away last year will be held in New York City next month, when drummer Steve Jordan (Eric Clapton, John Mayer Trio) assembles an all-star lineup to fete Cornell Dupree at B.B. King’s on February 7 and a separate batch of musical legends get together at the Apollo Theater on February 24 to pay tribute to the memory of the late Hubert Sumlin.
For “The School of Cornell” concert at B.B.’s, Jordan has pulled together this insane array of talent: Steve Cropper, Ray Parker Jr., John Scofield, Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar, and Bob Mann; The Gadd Gang, featuring Steve Gadd, Eddie Gomez, Ronnie Cuber, and Leon Pendarvis; Stuff, featuring Gordon Edwards and Jimmy Smith; The Soul Survivors, featuring Jeff Golub, Buddy Williams, and Frank Canino, and special guests Bernard Purdie, Willie Weeks, Randy Brecker, Lenny Pickett, Will Lee, Chris Parker, Steve Ferrone, Paul Shaffer and Vaneese Thomas, with the promise of “many more surprises.” Dupree, who passed away last May, played with a who’s who of rock, R&B and soul legends over the course of his career and was part of the famed Atlantic Records studio band. You know the memorable guitar line in Aretha Franklin’s respect? That’s Cornell. Tickets are currently available on Ticketmaster.
Up at the Apollo in Harlem, the lineup for the Hubert Sumlin tribute is even more mind-blowing: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Derek Trucks, Gary Clark Jr., Keb Mo, Doyle Bramhall, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Dr. John, Levon Helm, Shemekia Copeland, Steve Jordan, Willie Weeks and Ivan Neville. Promoters also promise more additions and surprises to come. Sumlin, who passed away in December, was cited as an influence by a generation-spanning list of notable guitarists ranging from Warren Haynes to Keith Richards to Eric Clapton, as he was the primary guitarist in Howlin’ Wolf’s band from the mid ’50s until Wolf’s death in 1976. When Rolling Stone recently announced their 100 Greatest Guitarists of All-Time list, Sumlin was listed at 43. Keep your eyes peeled on this page for ticketing information, which as of press time had not been announced.