Blues legend B.B. King, who died May 14 at age 89, performed at many Chicago venues over his long career, including a 1993 concert at Orchestra Hall. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association joins music lovers worldwide in mourning the death of the artist universally regarded as “The King of the Blues.”
Here’s an excerpt from a review, written by jazz critic Lloyd Sachs in the Chicago Sun-Times, of that concert Jan. 6, 1993:
Hours after the death of Dizzy Gillespie, the ecstatic ovation that greeted B.B. King at Orchestra Hall last night took on special meaning. We in this country have developed a perverse affection for giving greats their celebratory due only after they’re gone. Moments like this one raised hope that we haven’t lost sight of how fortunate we are to still have some of them in our midst. Like Gillespie, King has played an enormous role in broadening popular support for his music, the blues. And like Diz, he has developed into an entertainer whose routines, even when you’ve seen them a dozen times, maintain their charm. For those who insist on thinking the blues is only about pain, his resolutely upbeat approach is just what the preconceptions ordered.