Armed with a classic blues voice—gruff, gritty, muscular, and with sufficient power to light up a small city—Luther Kent has had a long and eclectic career, mostly at the heart of New Orleans's blues scene. Getting his start in peculiar times—the Crescent City in the late '60s—Kent led an outfit called Cold Grits into the early '70s, scoring a few regional hits along the way. When David Clayton-Thomas left Blood, Sweat & Tears, Kent was enlisted to replace him as lead singer and toured with the band for about three years, but never recorded with BS&T because of contractual issues. Later he led a swaggering big band dubbed Trick Bag (after the classic Earl King tune) that prevailed as the house band at a succession of New Orleans clubs, regularly attracting a who's who of traveling musicians to the late-night (and early-morning) sessions. He sang the theme song for the short-lived crime/musical TV show Cop Rock. Still later, his vocals graced another horn-rich R&B outfit called the Forever Fabulous Chickenhawks, and he earned a bunch of awards for his work in advertisements. On this rare trip upriver, Kent's likely to deliver a mixed trick bag of hard-driving blues, greasy R&B, grainy ballads, New Orleans nuggets, and a significant dose of Bobby "Blue" Bland (the subject of an imminent Kent album). He'll lead an 11-piece version of Trick Bag loaded with four horns and a pair of saxes.
Sun., Dec. 21, 2008