Classic blues artist Alvin Youngblood Hart comes to the Blue Note Jazz Club

April 30, 2002 2:28 AM
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The Blue Note Jazz Club welcomes the award-winning blues stylings of Alvin Youngblood Hart Monday, May 6 through Saturday, May 11. For ticket information, call (702) 862-8307.

Guitarist, singer and songwriter Alvin Youngblood Hart is continuing in the path laid down by acoustic blues practitioners like Taj Mahal, Guy Davis and other 1990s blues revivalists, but his roots go back much further than that, to the classic stylings of Bukka White, Charley Patton, Leadbelly and Blind Willie McTell. Born in Oakland, Calif., Hart accompanied his parents on summer trips to his grandparents’ home in the hills of northern Mississippi, and it was there that his passion for acoustic blues was first sparked. Although there was not a lot of music around the hills of Carrollton, Mississippi, where his grandmother lived, his uncle sparked his interest by playing guitar and telling him stories about Charley Patton. His grandmother also played blues piano, furthering his interest.

Hart cites recordings by Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones with helping him along in his blues guitar studies. He adopted the nickname "Alvin" from the harmonica-playing frontman for the TV cartoon group the Chipmunks.

Hart’s first big break came about in February 1995 while opening for Taj Mahal at an Oakland jazz club. Mahal’s longtime road manager invited Hart to Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir’s studio for an impromptu jam session. Hart was signed to a management contract and recorded a demo that caught the ears of some executives at the Okeh subsidiary of Epic Records.

His brilliant 1996 debut album, Big Mama’s Door, received widespread critical acclaim. Hart’s album was nominated for both Acoustic Album of the Year and Traditional Album of the Year at the 1997 W.C. Handy Awards. Territory followed in 1998, and two years later Start With the Soul arrived