Blues pianist and legend, Pinetop Perkins passed away yesterday at the age of 97. I remember the first time I saw him at Glen Echo. The room was packed, and there was a large crowd of non-dancers clustered at the front of the stage to watch him play. He hobbled out with his walker. . .I don’t recall if he had his oxygen tank with him that night, sat down at the piano with his frail looking body, and then tore that piano a new one. It was amazing to see, and I had a fantastic evening.
The last time I saw him, he had clearly lost some of his edge, but was still just as entertaining. The man filled with such joy when he played for all those people. Over the years, he played with all of the great blues men. Most notably, he toured with Muddy Waters for years. This past year, he won a grammy for best traditional blues album. I can’t imagine a better way to go out of this world than with another Grammy.
The Pinetop Perkins Foundation has been established to honor this blues giant. The foundation helps young musicians starting their career, and older musicians at the end of their career. Consider making a donation in honor of this legend, and the wealth of great music he has left for us.
Photo courtesy of the Pinetop Perkins Foundation.