All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Lafayette Leake

Lafayette Leake Lafayette Leake

There was a distant time when the blues was dominated by the two fisted hard driving pianists of the era, who cut their bones by coming up on the chitlin’ circuit and juke joints down south and slowly played their way into Chicago to test themselves against the big boys of the Windy City. One such mysterious piano man was Lafayette Leake, who went on to establish himself as a legendary pianist for Chess Records during the formative years of Chicago Blues.

Lafayette was born in Winona, Mississippi, in 1920. He was a desperately shy man and much of his early life is still unknown. He seemed to have some formal classical training which accounted for his dazzling technique and ability to play Chopin and duplicate other pianists by ear.

We pick up on his trail in the early ‘50’s when he replaced Leonard Caston in the Big Three Trio, whose bass player Willie Dixon would become a lifelong friend of Lafayette’s, and naturally they went on to become the mainstay in the Chess studios.

His resume for the Chess sessions in Chicago of the ‘50’s through the ‘60’s is nothing short of spectacular. He was the unheralded piano man of countless sessions with Chuck Berry, Otis Rush, Junior Wells, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson #2, and many others.

He did manage to record a few sides on his own as leader for the Black and Blue label in France during the ‘70’s. He released “Feel So Blue,” in 1978 for the label. A collectors choice for blues piano aficionados. This has been reissued on cd as “Easy Blues,” with some added bonus tracks.

Read more

Tags

Photos

Albums

Album Easy Blues by Lafayette Leake

Easy Blues

Black and Blue Records
2002

buy

Watch

Similar

Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.