Alexis Korner

An inspirational figure in British music circles, Korner was already versed in black music when he met Cyril Davies at the London Skiffle CluBorn Both musicians were frustrated by the limitations of the genre and transformed the venue into the London Blues And Barrelhouse Club, where they not only performed together but also showcased visiting US bluesmen.

When jazz trombonist Chris Barber introduced an R&B segment into his live repertoire, he employed Korner (guitar) and Davies (harmonica) to back singer Ottilie Patterson. Inspired, the pair formed Blues Incorporated in 1961 and the following year established the Ealing Rhythm And Blues Club in a basement beneath a local cinema. The group's early personnel included Charlie Watts (drums), Art Wood (vocals) and Keith Scott (piano), but later featured Long John Baldry, Jack Bruce, Graham Bond and Ginger Baker in its ever-changing line-up.

Mick Jagger and Paul Jones were also briefly associated with Korner, whose continued advice and encouragement proved crucial to a generation of aspiring musicians. However, disagreements over direction led to Davies' defection following the release of R&B From The Marquee, leaving Korner free to pursue a jazz-based path.

While former colleagues later found success with the Rolling Stones, Manfred Mann and Cream, Korner's excellent group went largely unnoticed by the general public, although he did enjoy a residency on a children's television show backed by his rhythm section of Danny Thompson (bass) and Terry Cox (drums). The name “Blues Incorporated” was dropped when Korner embarked on a solo career, punctuated by the formation of several temporary groups, including Free At Last (1967), New Church (1969) and Snape (1972). While the supporting cast on such ventures remained fluid, including for a short time singer Robert Plant, the last two units featured Peter Thorup who also collaborated with Korner on CCS, a pop-based big band that scored notable hits with “Whole Lotta Love” (1970), “Walkin'” and “Tap Turns On The Water” (both 1971). Korner also derived success from his BBC Radio 1 show that offered a highly individual choice of material.

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Discography

The Godfather of British Blues

The Godfather of...

Sanctuary Records
2008

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Kornerstoned: The Alexis Korner Anthology 1954-1983

Kornerstoned: The...

Sanctuary Records
2006

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Bootleg Him!

Metronome
1972

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