SEASIDE - Lil' Bayou Restaurant heats up the summer with its Concert Series, featuring the Rockin' Jake Band Wednesday, June 7.
Rockin' Jake has been hailed by many as one of the premier harmonica players in the country. His original sound is a hybrid of second line, swamp funk, blues and zydeco, with influences from Paul Butterfield, Big Walter Horton, James Cotton, Muddy Waters, J. Geils Band and the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
Originally from the East Coast, the "blues bug" bit at an early age for Jake. He immersed himself in the thriving regional blues scene, which boasted such talents as Roomful of Blues, Ronnie Earl, Duke Robillard and Sugar Ray. Primarily self-taught, Jake briefly studied with Jerry Portnoy, harmonica player for Muddy Waters.
In 1990, Jake moved to New Orleans, where he began to work with such notable New Orleans mainstays as blues diva Marva Wright, Mem Shannon, Coco Robicheaux, Little Freddie King, Tommy Ridgley, Eddie Bo and other local legends. During this time, Jake also toured nationally with G. Love & Special Sauce and blues and pop legend Maria Muldaur, and logged international miles with bluesman T.J. Wheeler. He was selected to perform in an all-star band featuring blues legends Pinetop Perkins and Hubert Sumlin at the Howlin' Wolf.
In 1995, he formed the Rockin' Jake Band as an outlet for his original music and his unique swampy sounds. One year later, Jake recorded his debut CD, "Let's Go Get 'Em," on Rabadash Records, which earned him national recognition. In 1999, Jake produced "Badmouth" on Zuluzu records, followed by "Full-Time Work" in 2002 on the same label. Jake's work has also been heard on the soundtrack of "The Big Easy" television series, the theme for the "Mike Ditka Show" and a Miller Beer commercial.
He is a five-time winner of 2004 Off Beat Magazine's coveted "Best of the Beat" award for best harmonica player. Jake and his band pour out their souls in every performance with high energy and electricity that consistently brings the audience to its feet. The band will be featuring a dynamic new guitarist, Pete Kanaras, who recently spent nine years with the legendary Nighthawks.
In his spare time, Jake managed to snare some culinary kudos in New Orleans, taking the trophy for "Best Barbequed Brisket" at the 1999 New Orleans Musicians Barbeque Competition and launching his own line of signature hot sauce: "Badmouth (the edible version)." Jake also takes time to give back to his New Orleans community with Project Prodigy Music Camp for children as well as the Blues in the Schools programs in New Orleans and other cities in the United States.
The Rockin' Jake Band appears live at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 7, at Lil' Bayou, 20 N. Holladay Drive in Seaside. Cover charge is $7. For information, call (503) 717-0624 or visit www.lilbayou.com