T-Bone and BB share an amp and the stage at the 1967 Monterey Jazz Festival in this magnificent video. King was influenced by a lot of musicians, and not just guitar players, but none shaped his playing quite as much as T-Bone Walker.
In the opening sequence, King sounds much more “jazzy” to me in his phrasing than usual and is playing at top speed. Walker follows that with an earthier riffing passage that shows the influence he’s also had upon Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix.
Both men are getting gorgeous tone from their gibsons injected directly into the super reverb. Walker’s L-5 has a nice raspy edge while King’s ES-335 or 355 is exploring somewhat smoother territory on the neck pickup.
After a short break, T-Bone does East Texas proud as he kicks off the slow blues number, Sweet Sixteen, in his unique, stabbing style before BB takes the ball and displays the remarkable vibrato that revolutionized blues guitar playing and inspired millions to take up the pursuit.
Taking turns on the verses, the pair show off great vocal chops as well as the ability to snake superb fills between the other’s singing.
The giant of 1940’s blues guitar shares the stage with the giant of 50’s. Does it get any better than this?
What amp are they playing through? Narrow panel and rear loaded controls like a tweed Fender Bassman or Bandmaster but it’s covered in black tolex so it can’t be a Fender!