A Night with John Mayall at Musikfest Café

Photography by Kris Hilliard
Story by Diane Fleischman


While it has been said from the lips of Mario Puzo from ‘The Godfather’, “Great men are not born great, they grew great”, John Mayall, known as The Godfather of British Blues, owns the title.  Performing for a full house at the Musikfest Café Tuesday night, Mayall set the tone as he opened with “Nothing But Love” on keyboards. 

As Mayall approaches his 83rd birthday, he is limber with his instruments as he smoothly shifted to harmonica in “Demons of Love”, and at one point, amazed the audience as he played keyboards and harmonica at the same time.  Mayall played guitar on “Walking on Sunset” and filled the room with fluid rhythms and guitar riffs that wandered, dappled, and sung the blues deep within his soul. 

It would be an impossible feat to list all of Mayall’s accomplishments in one review, let alone one paragraph.  Although this British born jazz and blues musician gained much recognition in his early 30’s, the British Invasion of the 60’s immensely launched his career.  Mayall has worked with legendary artists such as BB King, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Coco Montoya, and Etta James. 

Back on stage, a few surprises were in store as Mayall performed several cover songs such as, “Oh Pretty Woman”, “The Sum of Something”, and “Big Town Playboy.”  Other Mayall compositions included, “Gimme One More Day”, “Help Me Baby”, “Chicago Line” and “Room to Breathe.  Mayall is joined by bassist, Greg Rzab, and drummer, Jay Davenport.