I don’t know B.B. King, I’ve never seen him in concert. I’ve listened to his music off and on since the mid-70s. I may have heard it earlier, but I can say with absolute certainty I became aware of his music during my stint as a music student in Kansas. I won a scholarship. I’m not very musical. But I met musicians I admire, studied theory and composition, and heard lots of good live music of all stripes. At the time, many a guitar student was descending on Wichita State because guitar genius Jerry Hahn was teaching jazz guitar. I met some of these great student guitarists. They turned me on to B.B. King.
My creativity was born during that time. It later, withe time and experience, came to fruition, and I know that like pillars and beams, music and art are the pillars upon which my writing rests. Monet and Picasso and many others are the artists in on one beam. B.B. King is among the giants in the other.
I believe all art comes down to telling a story. In some cases it’s not so obvious what the ‘story’ might be. What is the story of Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’? Everything is open to interpretation. A book written hundreds of years ago, read by thousands if not millions generation after generation, is reinterpreted from one age to another. In B.B. King’s case, what I heard was not music but a musician telling a story with notes: bending, crying, wailing, popping, staccato, meandering notes from his beloved Lucille.
In the years to come I would learn the craft of writing, work in journalism, and try my hand at fiction. Music and art continue to instruct and inspire. Some artists remain in my heart as teachers I can rely on to guide me through my art and my life. B.B. King is one such teacher. Music is the foundation of my creative process and Mr King a pillar. Always was. Always will be.
Joseph Mark Brewer is a journalist and author of the Shig Sato Mystery series. To get a copy of The Gangster’s Son click here . To get a copy of Shig Sato Book 2 The Thief’s Mistake visit www.josephmarkbrewer.com.