Shuggie Otis at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
212-997-4144 www.bbkingblues.com Ages: Adult $42 advance, $50 day of show
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Shuggie Otis, for those not familiar with him through David Byrne's heroic disinterment of his 1974 album, Inspiration Information or through his authorship of the wonderful Strawberry Letter 23 - is the son of legendary R `n' B bandleader Johnny Otis. A musical prodigy he was playing with his father by the time he was 13 and from the word go displayed an uncanny mastery of the blues guitar.
He wrote "Strawberry Letter 23," a gold single for the Brothers Johnson that went to number one R&B and number five pop in spring 1977. George Johnson was dating one of Otis' cousins who gave him a copy of Otis' 1971 Epic LP, Freedom Flight. Immediately, Johnson liked "Ice Cold Daydream" and "Strawberry Letter 23." The duo recommended it to their producer, Quincy Jones, and recorded a cover version that sticks pretty close to Otis' original version of "Strawberry Letter 23." By the time "Strawberry Letter 23" was a million-seller, Otis had been dropped from Epic three years earlier. The 24-year-old guitar virtuoso was sure he would get a new record deal. Ironically, the record executives would be impressed that he wrote a million-selling song, but they weren't interested in anything else he'd done. Disillusioned, Otis dropped out of the music business before returning to it in the late `80s, playing with his father, Johnny Otis' band. Later the axiom "good things come to those who wait" took effect. Spurred by sales and critical kudos of reissues of his 1974 Epic LP, Inspiration Information, from Sony Music Special Projects and David Byrne's Luaka Bop label, Otis performed "Strawberry Letter 23" on May 2001 appearances on Conan O'Brien and David Letterman.
Though in recent years he has chosen to remain out of the spotlight, he continues to be revered through musical circles, as evidenced by his 2009 performance with Mos Def in LA. Feb 2013 sees the re-release of Inspiration Information via Sony distribution, complete as a double album package with a set of sought after unreleased masters. He will perform his first live dates outside America in over 20 years.
Venue Description: A throwback to the fabled days of New York nightclubs, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill features top-caliber music stars and an American Continental menu with a Southern flair. The Showcase Room has video screens and state-of-the-art sound, table seating, a bar where you can snack and listen, and a dance floor. The Beatles Brunch is offered every Saturday at noon (doors at 11am), and doors open for the Gospel Brunch every Sunday at 12:30pm with music at 1:30pm.