Mentor in Memorium: B.B. King (1926-2015)

BB_KingOne of the most influential blues musicians ever, B.B. King, sold millions of records worldwide and was inducted into both the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Mr. King played a guitar he affectionately called “Lucille,” and with his soulful voice, heartfelt lyrics, and scorching guitar licks became a mentor to dozens of musicians.

One of those he acted as a mentor to was British blues guitar legend Eric Clapton, who said of his mentor, “I want to thank him for all the inspiration and encouragement he gave me as a player over the years, and for the friendship that we enjoyed. There’s not a lot left to say because this music is almost a thing of the past now, and there are not many left to play in the pure way that B.B. did. He was a beacon for all of us who loved this kind of music. If you’re not familiar with his work, I would encourage you to go out and find an album called ‘B.B. King: Live at the Regal,’ which is where it started for me as a young player.”

Mr. King was raised by his grandmother after his parents separated and his mother died. At 7 he picked cotton, drove tractors, and dropped out of school in grade 10.

Shirley King, one of the 11 of his 15 surviving biological children said, “I didn’t get a chance to hug my daddy and tell him goodbye.”

Paul Horn (1930-2014): Jazz Musician Mentor, Flautist, Composer, Guru of New Age Music

Paul Horn Jazz MentorA Grammy Award winning musician who performed with Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole and many others, and who recorded over 50 albums, including the classic that began the New Age music era, Inside the Taj Mahal, British Columbia resident Paul Horn studied transcendental meditation (TM) with the Maharishi in India at the same time as the Beatles, Mike Love of the Beach Boys and Donovan. His reverence for deep philosophical thought was considered a major influence on the Fab Four, and after their meeting in India Paul became one of the very first TM teachers in the United States. He said that TM was instrumental in changing the way he looked at a lot of things in life and that it reorganized his priority system: “You start gravitating toward what you really should be doing in life,” he said.

Despite his philosophical and spiritual interests increasingly pulling him away from the music business, his dedication to integrating those interests with his music led one of the many he mentored to say that Paul once told him “Listen close; listen for the possibilities in silence; and whenever you’re playing, let people hear your soul.”