Line-up: JOHN MAYALL vocals and guitar; MELVIN TAYLOR guitar; GREG RZAB bass guitar; JAY DAVENPORT drums
“The Godfather of British Blues”—BBC
These extremely rare club dates for legendary British Blues man John Mayall playing tracks from his career on this farewell tour.
Often referred to as “The Godfather of British Blues,” John Mayall has an impressive musical career that spans over 50 years. The English blues singer, pianist, harmonica player, guitarist, and songwriter founded the band, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers in the 1960’s—a band whose members included many celebrated blues and blues rock guitarists, such as: Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jack Bruce, Mick Taylor, Walter Trout, Coco Montoya and Buddy Whittington.
Attracted by the West Coast climate and culture, Mayall then made his permanent move from England to Los Angeles in 1969 and began forming bands with American musicians. Throughout the next three decades, Mayall became further revered for his many jazz/rock/blues innovations featuring such notable performers as Blue Mitchell, Red Holloway, Larry Taylor, and Harvey Mandel. Mayall’s popularity continued with a succession of dynamic albums including the Grammy-nominated “Wake Up Call” that featured guest artists Buddy Guy, Mavis Staples, Albert Collins and Mick Taylor.
In 2008 Mayall made the decision to permanently retire the Bluesbreakers name and in 2009 started a new era of touring with band members Rocky Athas on guitar, Jay Davenport on drums and Greg Rzab on bass. They toured together for over seven years, averaging about 100 shows a year, and are featured players on four of John’s studio albums. John also released a couple of never before heard live albums from 1967 featuring Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood, which have been enthusiastically received by critics and fans alike.
In August 2016 there was another big shift when thunderstorms prevented Rocky Athas from attending a festival, compelling John, Greg and Jay to perform as a trio. The sound they came up with lent an amazing new slant to John’s music and he made the bold decision to move to the trio format. A sample of the fireworks they create onstage was released in February 2018 entitled “Three For the Road.”
Always one step ahead, in 2019 John hired a new band member. Carolyn Wonderland was the first ever woman to hold the position of lead guitarist in any of John’s bands. She was also one of the featured guitar players on John’s most recent studio album, Nobody Told Me, released February 2019, that also featured Todd Rundgren, Joe Bonamassa, Steven Van Zandt and Larry McCray on selected cuts. Carolyn has now left the band to pursue some wonderful opportunities with her own band and we wish her our very best with her endeavors.
She will be replaced on guitar by Melvin Taylor. Melvin compliments John’s rhythm section, being a Chicago Blues stalwart who started his musical career as a young teenager playing on Chicago’s famed Maxwell Street in the ‘70’s. In fact, Greg and Jay met while playing together in Melvin’s trio nearly 20 years ago. John and the band are eagerly looking forward to introducing Melvin to the fans and to making more exciting music together onstage. He will also be featured on the phenomenal new studio album scheduled for release in 2022. The road continues!