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Otis Clay vocals
Willie Henderson baritone sax
Steve Hawkins trumpet
Willie Woods trombone
John Randolph guitar
Mark Clay drums
Bernard Reed bass
Benny Brown keyboards
Theresa Davis vocals
Diane Madison vocals
Diana Greenleaf vocals
When Otis Clay left us on January 8, 2016, his passing left a gap that will be difficult, if not impossible, to fill. One of the truly remarkable figures in R&B and Blues, Otis Clay was an influential figure, a tireless and consummate performer.
Fortunately, he left behind a recorded legacy which will live on for generations. His music will be admired, cherished and his example will be emulated, but not duplicated and certainly not surpassed, for a long time.
Starting in the 1950’s as a gospel singer, Clay moved between Mississippi, Indiana and Nashville, TN, eventually signing with a label out of Chicago where he released a number of gospel tinged soul records. In his later years, he enjoyed a significant following in Japan and Europe, where this performance was recorded.
Capturing an artist in a studio setting can, in its way, be limiting. In the studio there is the freedom and the opportunity to capture the artist’s intention - the mix is perfect, the vocals are exact and the overall picture is a mirror image of the artist’s vision.
But. there is something about a live performance, in front of an audience with the exchange of energy; the adrenalin and that desire to go one step further, that makes a concert a unique and exhilarating experience. In a live setting, all bets are off. The mix is on the fly, instruments can miss cues, a sung note can miss its mark, an amp can blow a fuse.
And so this concert, recorded live in Bellinzona, Switzerland in June of 2006, offers just that glimpse into the artistry and soul of the unforgettable Otis Clay.