John Mayall

by John Mayall

Photo credit: Jeff Fasano.

John Mayall has been described as ‘The Godfather of British Blues”, but his impact on British music has transcended the genre. His band, The Bluesbreakers, acted as a catalyst in the careers of a number of musicians. The second Bluesbreakers album featured Eric Clapton on guitar. During his time with the band, Mayall would introduce Clapton to Jack Bruce, with whom he would subsequently form the first supergroup Cream.

After Clapton left, Peter Green was drafted in to play guitar, Green would go on to form Fleetwood Mac with the band’s bass player John McVie. Last in this series of highly influential guitar players to be members of the Bluesbreakers was Mick Taylor, who, after parting ways with Mayall, played with The Rolling Stones in what was arguably their most creative period.

As well as this extensive list of stars who he has helped to develop, Mayall is himself a supremely talented multi-instrumentalist; he sings, plays the guitar, piano, harmonica and drums. At the end of the 60s, Mayall began to experiment with his band. At one point, the band had no drummer and was re-orientated towards more acoustic instrumentation. At this time he also began to branch out from the straight blues he had been playing exploring jazz composition, an influence from his father who was an avid jazz fan.

Given Mayall will be 84 in a month’s time, it is testament to his love of music that he has embarked on this expansive tour, which included six nights at London’s legendary Ronnie Scott’s jazz club. This could be Mayall’s last tour and unique opportunity to see one of the most influential musicians of the past 50 years.