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Keb' Mo': Blues Meets Jazz in BluesAmericana

Belinda Ware By

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My first intention was to make a stripped-down acoustic album—just me and my guitar playing some songs. But I couldn’t do it! I love ensembles so much. —Keb' Mo'
Jazz and Blues go hand in hand like mother and daughter, father and son. Blues is often associated with a style of music imbued and cultivated within musicians born and raised in the downhome South hanging out in nightclubs on Memphis' Beale Street, New Orleans and Tupelo waiting for a spot to perform.

Kevin Moore hails originally from the city of Compton, a city that has served as home to Venus and Serena Williams, Kendrick Lamar, and George Bush. Moore did not choose the Blues. The Blues chose him.

A consummate musician, Moore was gigging playing his guitar in the heart of L.A. with some of the city's groove masters when he found himself gradually transforming into the musical persona of Keb' Mo.' His self-discovery in the vortex of the Blues mirrored his musical rebirth and his creative destiny to take the baton of the Blues and run with it to an evolved state of modern consciousness and expression.

A California native, Keb' Mo' discovered his gifts in playing Southern Blues guitar, singing and songwriting over time and at the right time in his musical journey. Keb' Mo' became acquainted with the Blues when it hit him like a strike of lightning. It was a moment of awakening that helped him get to know the Blues like a natural born man riding the wave of colorful improvisation in jam sessions similar to the authentic character of Blues pioneer, Robert Johnson. This was the beginning of his journey to carry the Blues with him both in his heart and in his suitcase on his travels.

As a creative artist, Keb' Mo' is a gifted interpreter of pure music. He is a man of multi-talents who has achieved success through his career keeping himself at the forefront of musical trends. He has established himself as an independent thinker, recording artist and songwriter committed to keeping the authentic music and legacy of Blues alive. He is a real human being who cries, laughs and finds those moments to write eloquently what he feels while integrating in variable degrees shades and textures of Jazz, Folk, Roots and Americana Music.

As a Blues guitarist, his melodies and instrumental chord progressions take listeners into the world of Blues alley. His world. Keb' Mo' is an architect of Blues fusion adding jazz harmonies and personnel in just the right places as seen in his large anthology of songs and his passion for discovering a new musical sound and frequency in the key of "keeping it real."

His live concert performances are a representation of his range of electric artistry taking the stage with a few musicians and filling the hall with the symphony of the Blues. Keb' Mo' is multilingual in his ability to translate a life experience lyrically through the multifaceted world of the Blues with a variety of his original songs representing Delta Blues, Country Blues and Blues Americana. His journey to his current position as a natural born Blues man began the day he performed on a New Year's Eve gig with his original jazz drummer, Quentin Dennard.

In a recent interview, Dennard shared, "Kevin is truly a gifted musician born with an ear to create thoughtful music that lasts. The first time I heard him play, I noticed he played with such feeling and emotion through his guitar making it talk to you. Ya' know. He and I were performing at a New Year's Eve gig and we were hanging out chopping it up afterwards. He was in deep thought thinking to himself. He said to me that he wanted to start playing the Blues. I told him he needed a Blues name to start with like Keb' Mo.'"

As a singer, songwriter and guitarist, Keb 'Mo's artistry flows from the depths of his personal experience as an observer of life, reflecting on people in the society we live in, their choices, challenges and triumphs arriving at the understanding of a seasoned Blues man with a master's degree in the art of living life. His ability to translate these life lessons and observations is what makes Keb' a treasure in today's world of music as he embodies the Blues of the past,present, and future stemming from the things that don't change regardless of technological developments.

In today's musical landscape, Keb' Mo' continues to be consistent with his persona as an ambassador of modern Blues and Americana bringing attention through his music to the beauty and purity of the simple things in life. Helping a friend in need, the magnificence of nature, and standing on the crossroads of a choice to go left or right. These are subjects he gives attention to in his songwriting. His original music releases organically stand up on their own as the artistic voice of the people. Through his music, he connects with people from all walks of life from the social elite to the homeless man asking for spare change.


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