Mississippi bluesman B.B. King is scheduled to bring his legendary playing style and his famous guitar “Lucille” to local audiences this week.
King makes his first stop on Dec. 4 in Ventura, Dec. 5 at the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino near Highland and heads west on Dec. 7 to the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills and then south to Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa on Dec. 8.
“Lucille” is the name of the Gibson guitar that King plays at every performance. The name comes from the time King risked his life in the mid-1950s to rush into a burning dance hall to save his $30 acoustic guitar. He later learned a fight over a woman named Lucille led to the fire.
King's musicianship has inspired other guitar legends such as Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. He's known for hits and fan favorites like 1970's “The Thrill Is Gone,” 1951's “Three O'Clock Blues” and 1968's “Paying The Cost To Be The Boss,” among many others.
King's last album was the critically acclaimed “One King Favor,” produced by T-Bone Burnett, released in August 2008 on Geffen Records. The album reached No. 37 on the Billboard charts. At the 2009 Grammy Awards, the effort won the Best Traditional Blues Album category.
“A lot of people believe what other people say. But I know my limitations,” said King in a 2009 interview with The Telegraph. “In 2008 Rolling Stone magazine put out an article on the 100 best guitarists. Now I forget, but it seems to me like they put me in the top five. I don't agree with that. You mention Barney Kessel, George Benson, some of them older guys — man, I couldn't hold a candle to them. That's why I say I'm still learning.”
Where: Ventura Theater, 26 S. Chestnut, Ventura.
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday Dec. 4
Information: 805-653-0118; venturatheater.net
Where: San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino, 777 San Manuel Blvd., Highland
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday Dec. 5
Information: 800-745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com
Where: Saban Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills
When: 8 p.m. Saturday Dec. 7 at Saban Theatre
Information: 323-655-0111; 888-645-5006
Where: Segerstron Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa
When: 7 p.m. Sunday Dec. 8
Information: 714-556-2787; www.scfta.org
Follow Wes Woods on Twitter: @ClaremontNow, @IEMusicNow