James "Boogaloo" Bolden has been at B.B. King's side for decades as band director. But with King, 87, slowing down a bit, Bolden is finding new avenues for his talent. For starters, he's just released a new album, No News, Jus' The Blues, and (along with producer/saxophonist Eric Demmer) has assembled a powerhouse big band that can blow the roof off any joint on any given night.
Friday night was no exception, as Bolden and Demmer, who spent more than a decade with the legendary Gatemouth Brown, put their nine-piece swingin' machine through some blistering paces at the venerable Heights blues/rock outpost. Consisting of some of Houston's top players -- piano genius Daryl Lavigne; red-hot sax maven and vocalist Evelyn Rubio; Charlie "Tuna" Dennis, B.B. King's longtime rhythm guitarist; local guitar god Teri Greene; sizzling trumpeter Roy Chapa; and father-son rhythm section Barry and Brandon Jackson -- the Bolden band is a beautiful thing to behold. In fact, it ranks right there with Grady Gaines' similar setup.