One simply cannot have a conversation about the blues—or, for that matter, the electric guitar—without mentioning B.B. King. Over the course of a decades-long career that saw him continue to perform right up to his death at age 89 in 2015, King established himself as a musical legend. He was a pioneer of the blues, helping to define the sound and style that continues to have a fundamental influence on everything from rock n’ roll to funk to hip-hop to this day.
Musicians from across the spectrum have been vocal about the massive influence King has had on them, and on music as a whole. After King’s death, Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio said in a tribute to the blues legend, “It’s literally impossible to overstate B.B. King’s influence on every single electric guitarist who followed in his path. All of us who have ever bent a note owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.”
This reverence is on full display in the video below. In this segment from an old episode of All Access, King jams with Anastasio and The Roots on the blues standard “Rock Me Baby”, and the performers speak about their mutual respect as musicians. Enjoy!
B.B. King with The Roots, Trey Anastasio – “Rock Me Baby”
[Video: Élida Cubas]
Following King’s death, Anastasio shared thoughtful memories of their time together.
“In between takes, we all started jamming, just making stuff up,” Anastasio said of the late guitarist in 2015. “There was one particular moment where it just got so, so good. B.B. was absolutely cooking on the guitar, Questlove and the rest of the Roots were grooving so deeply, and I was standing right next to B.B. trading licks. I was in heaven.”
B.B. King was a larger-than-life figure in music, and his passing in 2015 still feels fresh for many of his fans. With the undeniable mark that he left on the music of his era and countless artists that followed, however, the King of the Blues’ legacy will live on forever.
[Originally published 9/16/17]