When the “Queen of the Blues,” Koko Taylor, takes the stage at the Japan Blues & Soul Carnival, you’re going to get an education. Her latest disc, “Old School,” released here June 2 by P-Vine, brims with life lessons learned over a 50-year career that’s taken her from a sharecropper’s farm in Tennessee to the gritty streets of Chicago’s South Side. It’s also a reminder of why the world’s longest-reigning musical monarch is second to none in the male-dominated world of the blues. Before class is dismissed, you can bet that this true soul survivor will hold court with everyone else on the bill in the jam that brings the carnival to a close.
Also check out: There are lots of ladies-in-waiting, like Jun Nagami. Also of note is Chicago guitarist Lurrie Bell, son of late blues harp legend Carey Bell.
The setting: The butt-numbing concrete amphitheater in the wooded corner of Hibiya Park bordering Tokyo’s Kasumigaseki district hardly befits royalty, but shifting what was once known as the Japan Blues Carnival from downpour-prone late May to July means there’s a better chance of staying dry. A family-friendly day of music in the park, with younger generations well represented.
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