B.B. King at Pall's Mall
Photos copyright © 1997, Charles Sawyer

B.B. King B.B. King
B.B. King B.B. King
B.B. King B.B. King
B.B. King B.B. King

For years two clubs, side by side, provided Boston with some of the best jazz and blues available in the country, Paul's Mall and the Jazz Workshop. One set of stairs on Boylston Street led down to both clubs. I heard so much good music in those clubs and when they closed I was miserable. Cannonball Aderly, Mose Allison, Elvin Jones, The Fabulous Thunderbirds -- they all played there. Groove Holmes and Jimmy McGriff recorded a live album there. One evening I rode down from Cambridge with B.B. King after he had played an outdoor concert at Harvard Stadium. B.B. wanted to hear James Cotton who was at Pall's Mall. Paul Butterfield showed up, too. I thought I'd gone to heaven when BB and Butter joined Cotton on the stage of Paul's Mall.

When these clubs prepared to shut their doors it was B.B. King who played the last date at Paul's Mall. It was an intimate club and I took a seat at a table at the front of the stage. I kept the camera up to my eye nearly every second of the set. With each clear gesture BB made my shutter-finger flicked. Band leader Eddie Rowe is seen with his horn on the left of some frames, bassist Joe Turner is on the right. They say all things come to an end, sooner or later. If only I could go back in time and relive those days.