Q (8/93, p.96) - 3 Stars - Good - "...he checks the oldbuddytude at the studio door when it's a fellow guitar-slinger opposite....King's terrifyingly unfettered singing implies that, if he cares to, he could still break new ground..."
Down Beat (11/93, p.37) - 4.5 Stars - Very Good Plus - "...just plain, raw, sweaty, downhome blues with a sense of humor and a lot of spontaneous interaction in the studio, the way records ought to be made. This is quite simply the best B.B. King album in 20 years...."
Musician (9/93, p.76) - "...though the formula seems hackneyed--duets with damn near every blues great still drawing breath--the results are anything but..."
Audio Magazine (11/93, p.110) - "...An instant classic....The performances are releaxed but sizzling...."
B.B. King Orchestra: B.B. King (vocals, guitar); Leon Warren (guitar); Walter King, Melvin Jackson (saxophone); James Bolden (trumpet); James Toney, Michael Doster (bass); Calep Emphrey, Jr.(drums); Tony Coleman (percussion).
Additional personnel: Vasti Jackson, Mabon "Teenie" Hodges (guitars), Kim Wilson (harmonica); Lee Allen, Nancy Wright (saxophone); Ben Cauley (trumpet); Randy Waldman (synthesizer); Antoine Salley (percussion); Maxine Waters, Julia Tilman Waters, Maxayne Lewis (background vocals).
Additional guest artists: Kim Wilson (vocals, harmonica), Irma Thomas (vocals), Katie Webster (piano, vocals), Joe Louis Walker (guitar, vocals), The Memphis Horns.
Principally recorded at Ardent Studios, Memphis, Tennessee from February 15-19, 1993 and Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California from March 8-12, 1993. Contains liner notes by Andy McKaie.
BLUES SUMMIT, a series of duets with a who's who of the blues, is classic B.B. King, probably his finest album of the 1990s. And if BLUES SUMMIT proves anything, it's that B.B. King is still hard, still a leader, still capable of raising the hairs on the back of your neck as he grooves into his sixth decade of preaching the blues.
B.B. King isn't merely a blues innovator, he's a student of the music, an avid collector of blues, R&B and jazz recordings. It is precisely this depth of knowledge, and his abiding love for the music, that allows BLUES SUMMIT to transcend the pitfalls that usually undermine your average supersession.
B.B. King consistently plays to the strengths of his collaborators on BLUES SUMMIT. Where B.B. King's modern blues style is urbane and swinging, the blues of John Lee Hooker are countrified and funky, harkening back to ancient oral traditions; yet they manage to reach a thrilling down home accord on "You Shook Me." Blues masters Robert Cray and Buddy Guy cut their teeth on B.B. King, and here they return the favor with wit and energy on "Playin' With My Friends" and "I Pity The Fool." His encounters with blues divas Koko Taylor, Ruth Brown, Etta James and Irma Thomas are dinstinguished by tenderness, good humor and soul, while Texas guitar legend Albert Collins inspires some torrid exchanges on "Call It Stormy Monday." And to top it all off is B.B.'s showcase on "I Gotta Move Out Of This Neighborhood/Nobody Loves Me But My Mother," featuring one of his most fervent recorded solos in years. Still the King.
BLUES SUMMIT won the 1994 Grammy Award for "Traditional Blues Album."