By Robyn Collins
B.B. King’s band is gearing up to start touring again, with his the late blues legend’s old friend Jesse Robinson leading the way.
“When B.B. passed, of course, the band stopped playing. I decided to bring the guys back together because they wanted to continue, so that’s what we’re doing, the band’s tour manager Myron Johnson tells the Clarion Ledger.
Related: B.B. King, Blues Legend Dies at 89
“We needed a bluesman, someone that could carry the torch and do the show in B.B.’s stead,” he continued. “I quite naturally thought of Jesse – it’s just a natural fit.”
Robinson, 71, says: “I was very surprised that they would call me. There are so many people on the face of God’s earth that admired B.B. and play his music.”
Robinson and King became friends many years ago. “B.B. and I always talked about that (Mississippi Delta upbringing),” Robinson says. “I think they were trying to find somebody from the Delta, and I think I’m probably the last one left from that era. That’s kind of scary.”
The B.B. King band perform with Robinson at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival this weekend, with guest appearances from Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Elvin Bishop, Dr John and others.
King’s most recent lineup consisted of guitarist Charlie Dennis, keyboardist Ernest Van Trese, bassist Reggie Richards plus brass players Walter King, Melvin Jackson, Stanley Abernathy and James Bolden.
King died in May, 2015 at the age of 89.