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Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated

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Blues Incorporated was a British R&B band in the early 1960s, which was led by Alexis Korner and which featured at various times such musicians as Jack Bruce, Charlie Watts, Ginger Baker, Long John Baldry, Danny Thompson, Graham Bond, Cyril Davies, and Dick Heckstall-Smith. Although never very successful commercially, it was extremely influential on the development of British rock music in the 1960s and later.

Alexis Korner _Artist Biography by Bruce Eder

Without Alexis Korner, there still might have been a British blues scene in the early 1960s, but chances are that it would have been very different from the one that spawned the Rolling Stones, nurtured the early talents of Eric Clapton, and made it possible for figures such as John Mayall to reach an audience. Born of mixed Turkish/Greek/Austrian descent, Korner spent the first decade of his life in France, Switzerland, and North Africa, and arrived in London in May of 1940, just in time for the German blitz, during which Korner discovered American blues. One of the most vivid memories of his teen years was listening to a record of bluesman Jimmy Yancey during a German air raid. “From then on,” he recalled in an interview, “all I wanted to do was play the blues.”

After the war, Korner started playing piano and then guitar, and in 1947 he tried playing electric blues, but didn’t like the sound of the pick-ups that were then in use, and returned to acoustic playing. In 1949, he joined Chris Barber’s Jazz Band and in 1952 he became part of the much larger Ken Colyer Jazz Group, which had merged with Barber’s band.

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