Selected by Dan Grunebaum

Park Tower Blues Festival

Galactic - Rick Oliver Capricorn Records

Now entering its seventh year, the Park Tower Blues Festival returns with a broad lineup that sprawls over a century of the blues with a selection of talents old and new.

The festival gets underway on Wednesday, December 6 with a "Countdown Special" offering a lineup of Japanese artists including Sheena & Rockets and DMBQ.

The "Countdown Special" continues on Thursday with performances from Paul Jones and Galactic. Formerly lead singer for the British Invasion group Manfred Mann, Jones has recently returned to the blues after pursuing a theater career.

Lucky Peterson
Lucky Peterson
Courtesy of Jus' Blues Management Co.

Based in New Orleans, Galactic are a jazz-funk sextet who have appeared in Tokyo as part of the jam-band Organic Groove parties. With a sound inspired by heroes like The Meters, Galactic's latest release is Late For The Future.

Things get going in earnest on Friday, with the festival headliners taking the stage through the weekend.

Leading off is New Orleans local legend, pianist Henry Butler, making a rare trip outside his home state of Louisiana. Coming out of the New Orleans tradition that easily blends blues and jazz, Butler can be found just about any time of the year performing at one of the Crescent City's numerous nightclubs.

Lazy Lester

Lazy Lester
Ursula Coyote

Also appearing from Louisiana will be blues harmonica legend Lazy Lester, at the head of his harmonica trio Harp Attack. Contrary to his colorful nickname, Lester's style of swamp blues is decidedly energetic, especially on his many 1950s recordings as sideman for guitarist Lightnin' Slim and as frontman for Excello Records.

If Lazy Lester represents blues history, then Lucky Peterson is its future. The Buffalo, New York native imbibed the blues at his father's Governor's Inn blues nightclub in the late '60s, and at the age of six he scored a national R&B hit with the Willie Dixon-produced "1-2-3-4."

Favored by concert-goers for its relaxed feeling and the freedom to come and go from the concert hall as you like, the Park Tower Blues Festival is an increasingly strong rival to the long-running Japan Blues Carnival.

In a last-minute addition, Tokyo blues collective Howling Loochie Brothers have been booked to open the Saturday show, starting at 2:30pm sharp.

Park Tower Blues Festival takes place at Park Tower Hall on December 6-10. See listings for details.

Concert Listings
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana