2013 - Desert Sun

By: Bruce Fessier - The Desert Sun

Boz Scaggs was first attracted to blues and flamenco music

Since then, he's played classic R&B, rock, blue-eyed soul and jazz.

This summer, Scaggs, 68, toured with Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald of Steely Dan in a rhythm & blues revue. He recently recorded a PBS special with them and their Dukes of September band.

But when he comes to the McCallum Theatre on Thursday, Scaggs will perform a combination of what he calls blues and radio hits.

The latter would include "Lowdown," "Lido Shuffle" and "Jojo" — songs he recorded during a fertile period from 1976 to 1981.

Scaggs talked about his eclectic nature in a recent telephone interview.

THE DESERT SUN: Is there a certain genre you most like to listen to that might be different from what you play in public?

SCAGGS: Mostly I listen to jazz — pretty much the standard '50s and '60s artists: Miles (Davis), (John) Coltrane and Bill Evans. I particularly like piano jazz. Bill Evans would be at the top of that list with McCoy Tyner, Horace Silver.

Did you have an evolution that led you to this taste in music?

I developed an interest in that in the late '50s. I grew up in a small town, but I had a friend who was pretty worldly and he gave me an album called `The Playboy Poll Jazz All-Stars" from 1958. I must have worn that record out. That (interest) grew as I got out of high school and moved to Madison, Wis. I made the acquaintance of Ben Sidran, a jazz writer and player who lived next door to me in a rooming house. Ben turned me on to a lot of stuff from Blue Note and then Coltrane.

Do you want to be known for your eclecticism or are you still searching for a perfect form of music?

I don't think there's any perfect music. As far as being noted for anything, I would say simply, I love all sorts of music and that changes a lot. When I grew up in Oklahoma and Texas, I had access to a lot of good country music, but I didn't get it at all. It's only within the last 10 or 15 years that I'm finally getting it. Bob Wills and Hank Williams are making a lot of sense to me.

Who are your vocal favorites?

Ray Charles, Bobby Blue Bland, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Chet Baker, Nat King Cole. I could go forever with my heroes in that world. I've been chasing vocals down my entire life. If I hear a voice, I'm inclined to want to sing it, particularly if it is from the American black experience.

What was it like working with Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald and do you see any more collaborations in the near future?

We're collaborating because of this Dukes of September group. We're looking at the future of that ensemble. I also have a solo album coming out in the spring and I did a collaboration that came out of this festival we have in San Francisco, called the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, to remember the music of Doug Sahm, a singer from Texas. I called Jimmie Vaughan and Delbert McClinton and Steve Earle and we did a set with a big horn band that was recorded. It will probably come out in 2013 as an album as well.

Why did you take such a long hiatus in the '80s?

I just had a lot of personal stuff to attend to and frankly the music sort of left me. ... If I hadn't taken that time off to regroup and rekindle my interest in music, I may not be at it now

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