Valerie Johnson & Al B Blue - Blues & Old Jazz
This is the duo that will immerse you, wrap you up & consume you in the vast Sea of Blues: happy, sad, silly and glad! Val & Al’s reverence for Traditional Jazz, Traditional R&B, Gospel and their obvious enjoyment of Blues, Funk and Rock & Roll spices up the mix of their soulful blend.
They get a bit sophisticated too, serving up standards, old-style jazz and blues. Singer and washboard player Valerie Johnson and Guitarist/Dobro player Al B Blue create a beautiful musical tapestry with their intricately interwoven rhythms and leads.
Valerie Johnson is an earthy lady with unearthly silk-and-steel vocal chords, who, with brilliant, innovative support from Al B. Blue, makes music that walks right into your heart and shakes hands with your soul. Born in the San Francisco Bay area, Valerie spent eight years polishing her voice as she toured Europe with the Bitburg Gospel Messengers and sang gospel and blues in the Far East. In 1998 she also sang lead on tour with the band that was made famous by Janis Joplin - BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY. Often also compared to Etta James, Valerie is a genuinely original talent with a direct line into the spirit of the Blues. She has also sung with BOOGIE WOOGIE PIANO QUEEN DEANNA BOGART and the award-winning blues/gospel group the HOLMES BROTHERS.
Al B Blue dishes up hypnotic, funky, driving rhythms on his guitar. Watch out when he pulls out that dobro with his slide... the wondrous sounds will stop you in your tracks! Al B Blue also is a classically trained pianist, and back in the 50's, formed a street corner doo-wop group in Camden, NJ, where he and his buds took street-corner crooning all the way to the radio! Later in California, he picked up the guitar, paid his dues and started playing major clubs in Los Angeles. From there he joined BIG BLACK AND THE CONGREGATION, an Afro-funk band, then toured the West Coast with CURTIS MAYFIELD. Later, he was offered a position playing with a blues band touring the infamous “chitlin’ circuit”. That’s where his blues began and let me tell you - It will never end! Yeah!
Valerie Johnson & Al B. Blue are part of a blues presentation at the Smithsonian Institute. They also have a program that has toured nationwide called BLUES FOR KIDS teaching kids from 2 to 92 about the Blues - their way of keeping the Blues "alive” and showing kids how to use the Blues to express their feelings and just have fun! Here are some of the places they have performed: Sonora Blues Festival, Sonora Christmas Craft Faire, Blues & Brews Festival, California Mid-State Fair, along with many other festivals, Blues Society events, conventions, civic functions, parties and weddings.