French music scene pays tribute to bluesman Lucky Peterson who died on Sunday

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Radio stations across France, including RFI, will pay tribute this week with special programs to American blues legend Lucky Peterson, who died suddenly of a stroke at the age of 55 on Sunday.

He had performed hundreds of times in France and was part of the New Morning “family”, in reference to the famous Parisian jazz club.

A message was posted on the artist’s social media pages late Sunday, in French and English.

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Lucky Peterson on Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 2:25 p.m. CST in Dallas, …

Published by Lucky Peterson on Sunday 17th May 2020


Lucky Peterson often comes to perform in France and becomes a regular at the New morning Parisian club.

Club manager Catherine Farhi told Franceinfo Culture that Lucky Peterson has played maybe 50 times at the club since it opened.

“The audience loved Lucky. And Lucky loved to be idolized, he loved to perform in a familiar, relaxed atmosphere,” she said.

Coronavirus blues

“There are a few iconic stars of the club; there was Roy Hargrove (deceased in 2018) and Roy Ayers. The ‘New’ is a big family. We are losing all of our closest members, it’s terrible!” she said.

“Without Lucky, I don’t know how it’s going to be …”

Peterson had also been very careful about Covid-19, she added, and he even posted a mini live performance in March titled The Coronavirus blues where he yells at people stranded in Paris, warning his fans to be careful.


Born Judge Kenneth Peterson on December 13, 1964 in Buffalo, New York, United States, Peterson grew up in a family of musicians where he learned to play the organ to accompany his father James Peterson.

Blues artist Willie Dixon saw Lucky play the Hammond organ at his father’s club at the age of five and took it under his wing, where his career as a singer and guitarist and organ took off.

Peterson has worked with a number of different artists throughout his career, such as bassist Bootsy Collins, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and artist Ayo for his album. Gravity finally (2008).

Several of her albums were tributes to other artists such as Mahalia Jackson in 1996, with singer Mavis Staples, and organ star Jimmy Smith (who had been her teacher) in 2014.

In 2009, his triple album Soul organ sessions was a celebration of the big names in jazz, soul and pop.

Regular at Jazz in Marciac since 1995

Jean-Louis Guillaumon, director of the famous annual review Jazz in Marciac festival (Gers) also shared his sadness at losing a legend, and remembers when Lucky gave his first concert at the festival in 1995.

“It worked so well,” he recalls, “that we got it back three years in a row. The public loved him and wanted more. He was a down-to-earth musician, full of warmth, he breathed the blues. he told France Info.


Peterson’s most recent album was Just warming up! on the Jazz Village label.

Several French radio stations organized a special this week in honor of Peterson’s long and influential career.

Radio France Internationale devotes its “The Epic of Black Music“black music show with Joe Farmer at the artist on Sunday, May 24 at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (Paris time) with excerpts from interviews recorded in 2005, 2009, 2014 and 2017.



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