- Mixed Bag (1996 Jazz and Blues Production)
- Killin’ the Wind – Blailock plays guitar on this 1981 release, by Bucky Barrett
by Paul Ammerman (SHS)
Throughout the years, there have been many great jazz guitarists, many of whom originated in the Mississippi area. None of them, however, is like Steve Blailock. Steve has played with great guitarists/musicians ranging from Lou Rawls to Harry Connick, Jr. (Brewer).
Born in McComb, Mississippi, on July 9, 1944, Steve was influenced by jazz as a youth. The first instrument that Steve learned to play was the piano. In about the third grade, Steve picked up the guitar as well as the trumpet. When Steve was twelve, he started working professionally. Of course, he didn’t do this alone. He had the teachings of guitarists like Lloyd Wells and Jerry Pucker, also of Mississippi. At the age of sixteen, Steve went on the road with his first band, whose members were mostly from Florida. The band got to be pretty big in the time in which it was “on the charts” (Blailock).
After touring with the band, Steve moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to study with the famous guitarist, Hank Garland. Steve quickly found a job as a studio guitarist in many of the booming recording studios of Nashville. After four years in Nashville, Steve moved to Los Angeles, where he was hired by Lou Rawls. In Los Angeles, Steve became a big part of the jazz and blues scene in that area. Steve mostly recorded in places like Nashville, Los Angeles, and New York over the next twenty years. In 1981 Steve played guitar for Bucky Barrett in his release of Killin’ the Wind.
In 1984, Steve decided to move back to New Orleans to “pursue a course that was more in tune with the true feelings of my heart” (Blailock). Steve worked with different artists over the next twelve years. Moving back to New Orleans, Steve got into the Southwest Louisiana on the Cajun and zydeco scene. Zydeco is a style of music that originated in Southern New Orleans. Steve also did hotel gigs in the Fairmont Hotel with Herb Tassin. (Wyckoff). Steve then worked with artists like trumpeter Leroy Jones and clarinetist Dr. Michael White in more traditional jazz. Steve toured internationally in 1992-98. These tours included the Beijing Jazz Festival in China in 1996 with his band “Swing Thing.” Steve made a total of twenty-six tours in China, Italy, France, Germany, Finland, Norway, Holland, Belgium, Japan, and Switzerland (Blailock Press Kit).
Steve now plays banjo for Greg Stafford’s Young Tuxedo Brass Band. He also has a self- produced disk entitled Mixed Bag. Steve is currently working on a another new disk of his own. There are also many projects in the works for Steve with other great artists.
In 1998 Steve Blailock was inducted into the Mississippi Music Hall of Fame for his lifetime work as an artist. Steve also performed in the 1996 Summer Olympic games in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1997, Steve was voted as All Star Guitar/banjo player for 1997 by New Orleans Magazine. (Blailock Press Kit) In August of 1998 he performed with other guitarists at the Mississippi Great Guitarists Jazz Reunion in Jackson to benefit the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame. Over the years, Steve as performed in over 900 CD’s and performed in over ten countries in the world! He has played with great jazz and blues artists such as Lou Rawls, Betty Carter, Hank Crawford, Annette Cobb, Eddie Vinson, Jimmy Smith, Wille Mae Thorton, Dr. Michael White, Jimmy Weatherspoon, Al Hirt, Pete Fountain, Harry Connick Jr., Wynton Marsalis, Mundell Lowe, Benny Waters, Bob Wilber, and many others. Steve’s amazing talent make him one of the greatest guitarist in the whole United States (Blailock Press Kit).
Steve Blailock died in 2013 in Texas.
- 1944–July 9, Steve Blailock was born in McComb Mississippi.
- 1956- Steve started playing the guitar professionally.
- 1960- Steve went on the road with first band from Florida. They were pretty big at the time.
- 1964-1968-Steve worked in Nashville, Tennessee, with Hank Crawford, Don Bowman, Willie Nelson, Ray Price, and others.
- 1975- Steve preformed in Houston, Texas, with various bands.
- 1976-79- Steve worked in Los Angeles with Wille Mae, “Big Mamma” Thorton, Jimmy Smith, and Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson.
- 1981- Steve was featured in a CD by Bucky Barrett entitled Killin’ the Wind.
- 1984- Moved back to New Orleans to pursue interests of the heart.
- 1992-present- Steve is an Instructor of Jazz Studies at Dillard University.
- 1996- Performed at the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.
- 1996- Steve has put out a CD, Mixed Bag, and is working on another one to be released soon. Also, Steve is working on projects with many other musicians.
- 1997- Played at Great Mississippi Jazz Guitarists Reunion and CD of same name.
- 1998- Steve was inducted into the Mississippi Music Hall of Fame.
Review of Steve Blailock’s 1996 Release of Mixed Bag
The CD, Mixed Bag, was released in 1996. It is the first full length CD by Steve Blailock. It features artists like Edward Frank, Johnny Vidacovich, Otis Bazoon, Shannon Powell, and “Big Al” Carson. It has ten tracks and all of them are really great, classic blues and jazz. It sounds like there is a bit of lounge music influence in it, too. I find it relaxing to listen to with its great beats and guitar parts. It is some of the best music I have ever heard. The way that Steve puts the piano in some of the songs is also really good. My favorites include “Cottontail,” “I’ll close my Eyes,” and “Hideaway.” It’s great to listening to when doing work or studying. It is even fun to listen to when going to bed. I’ll have to admit that I don’t really listen to jazz or blues, but if it all sounds like this, then I know I like it. I highly recommend this CD to anyone that admires great guitarists and vintage blues and jazz.
E-mail Interview with Steve Blailock (1999)
by Paul Ammerman (SHS)
When and where were you born?
I was born in McComb Mississippi, on July 9 1944.
Were you in the school band in high school?
I started playing gigs in Mississippi when I was about 12 years old. My first instrument was piano, and I started playing trumpet in about the 3rd grade. I also picked up the guitar about this time. In school I didn’t really play in the band, I was also interested in football at that time, and so I played football in school. But as I said, I was working professionally at 12. I had good teachers along the way, sometimes in a formal setting and sometimes not.
Did you take guitar lessons or did it just come natural to you?
I had good teachers along the way, sometimes in a formal setting and sometimes not.
Two people who helped me a lot in the beginning were Lloyd Wells and Jerry Puckett also of Mississippi.
Tell me about your career.
At age 16 I left the state and went on the road with a band from Florida. We had a big hit on the charts at that
time. A million seller as they used to call it. I settled in Nashville and for the next 20 years I worked as a studio musician out of Nashville, Los Angeles ,New York and also lived in Europe for a while. I worked and recorded with many people that were famous and popular at that time. In 1984 I decided to pursue a course that was more in tune with the true feelings of my heart. I moved back to New Orleans and concentrated more on playing jazz and blues. The music that was and is most special to me. Since that time I have made 26 tours of Europe and Asia working as a sideman with other people and as a bandleader with my own group. I will send you more info on myself very soon. I am sorry I have not done it before now, but we are in the middle of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and there is almost never a spare moment.
What are your main influences?
My main influences are the great jazz players of the past mainly Clifford Brown -Charlie Parker -Wes Montgomery-Hank Garland-Louis Armstrong to name a very few. Also great blues players such as Freddie King – Robert Johnson– Elmore James -BB King – Classical Guitarist -Andre Segovia I also love Bach and Chopin.
What are you doing as a solo/recording guitarist doing these days?
I am currently working on my new C D and hope to finish it soon. Also am working on several other C D projects for other people at the moment.
More info– all you have to do is ask.
- Long time New Orleans jazz guitarist Steve Blailock dies in murder-suicide in Texas (2013) New Orleans Times Picayune
- Barrett, Bucky. “Bucky Barrett- ‘Killin’ the Wind’.” [online] Available http://www.enter.net/~rainsong/ibktw.html, April 5, 1999.
- Blailock, Steve. Biography and Timeline. Press Kit. April 27, 1999.
- Blailock, Steve. E-mail interview, April 22,1999.
- Brewer, Jim. “Steve Blailock in Benefit Concert with Five Other Great Guitarists.” Press Release 1998.
- Hoffman, Udo. “International Jazz Festival.” [online] Available “http://www.chinatoday.com/art/Jazz/a.html, April 7, 1999.
- Wyckoff, Geraldine. “Steve Blailock.” [online] Available, April 5, 1999.