B.B. King

Jazz Casual

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Ralph J. Gleason's Jazz Casual, broadcast from KQED in San Francisco, was one of the very few proper showcases that jazz -- or, in this case, blues -- had on television in the mid-to-late '60s, and it was (big surprise) a product of public television. For this program, B.B. King and his band (Sonny Freeman on drums, James Toney at the organ, Mose Thomas on trumpet, and Lee Gatling on saxophone) play pretty much uninterrupted and unimpeded for 24 out of 30 minutes, through "Got a Whole Lot of Loving," "Got a Mind to Give Up Livin'," "Think I'll Move to the Jungle," "Darling You Know I Love You," and "That's Wrong, Lil Mama," captured by three cameras in some decently varying black-and-white shots. The May 9, 1968, broadcast also includes a short but intelligent dialogue between King and host Ralph J. Gleason, who pretty much lets King run the conversation about blues in whatever direction he cares to take it, mostly in terms of his inspiration for playing and singing, and the duality of his vocals and playing. The black-and-white picture quality is excellent and the sound is surprisingly crisp and clean -- Lucille gets a great showcase. The disc opens up automatically on a simple menu that allows various audio options and has the "play" command in the default position.

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