A few weeks shy of his 95th birthday, seminal blues pianist Pinetop Perkins continues to showcase his trademark boogie roll on the ivories and glowing, nicely seasoned vocals with a new album, another in the works, and a pair of rare local performances. Originally a guitarist, Joe Willie Perkins picked up his nickname and signature tune ("Pinetop's Boogie") from Clarence Pine Top Smith, who was shot during a barroom brawl in 1929. But Perkins established his own reputation with prodigious piano prowling accompanying a succession of blues heavyweights, including Robert Nighthawk, Sonny Boy Williamson, B.B. King, Earl Hooker, and Muddy Waters, with whom he played for a dozen years through the '70s. Perkins, drummer Willie Big Eyes Smith, and the core of Waters's band formed the Legendary Blues Band in the 1980s, and Perkins subsequently released a series of acclaimed solo albums. Out today, his latest, Pinetop Perkins & Friends (Telarc), is a rich collection of blues standards with Perkins's sprightly keyboard work and vocals shining, more than holding their own amid contributions from such illustrious friends as King, Smith, Eric Clapton, Jimmie Vaughan, and Eric Sardinas. Also on board is the Smith-led band that usually backs Perkins these days and will be with him at the Dakota, including Big Eyes himself, Kenny Smith (his son) on drums, bassist Bob Stroger, and guitarist Little Frank Krakowski, who've all got that mojo workin' something fierce.
Mondays, Tuesdays, 7 p.m. Starts: June 8. Continues through June 9, 2009