Spend enough time tracing modern music to its roots and you will undoubtedly find yourself at a blues crossroads. In the same way that science can trace the evolution of every pup from yapping yorkies to massive great danes to the bloodline of wolves, most modern, Western music has a primordial link to the blues.
Although most of the genre's originators have long passed on, we have been fortunate enough to live in a time when many of the players and artists who truly refined the form have been around to tend to the flame with recordings and performances. However, we've seen even the hallowed individuals of that generation dwindle recently, leaving only a handful of greats road-bound and functional enough to educate and protect what people have been referring to as a dying art form since the '70s. Among the realest of the real still hitting the road, as if a hot meal depended on it, is B.B. King, and -- as much as we loathe an easy pun -- the man is the actual and indisputable King of the Blues.
King, who got his start in the late 1940s, spent a lifetime bringing class to a gritty genre, delivering the blues from the roughest of Memphis' juke joints and bars to lavish theaters around the globe.
King has been responsible for masterworks of blues performance (the uninitiated might do well to spend some time with Live at the Regal), and it is important to note that King, along with Buddy Guy (who performed in Palm Beach last month), will eventually leave the throne to people like Eric Clapton, who has been too busy writing Margaritaville specials to give a shit about the blues anymore.
King hits Miami on January 5, for a performance at the Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center, and we recommend you seize the opportunity to share the air of a legend. While a performance by the nearly 90-year-old King might lack some of the focus of Live at the Regal, any reverent soul will find it a worthy experience.
B.B. King. 8 p.m. Sunday, January 5, at Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Tickets cost $49.50 to $99.50, plus fees. Call 305.949.6722, or visit arshtcenter.org.