COURTESY FUNKY DELICACIES
Eddie Bo will play Hawaii for the first time.
Legendary pianist Eddie Bo is looking forward to coming to Hawaii from his home in New Orleans, and getting a much-needed break from repair work.
Sunday: 7:30 p.m. at the rRed Elephant, 1144 Bethel St. Tickets are $40. A 10 p.m. party follows at O'Toole's Pub, 902 Nuuanu Ave., with free jambalaya and music by Delta Skelta.
Tuesday: 9 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa, part of "Halloween High Steppin'." Tickets are $20 in advance; $25 at the door.
Call: 271-9140 or online at trxentertainment.com
Hurricane Katrina left him in need of a new roof and some drywall work, Bo said. "It wasn't quite that bad for me. It was not so much water as wind. ... My house wasn't blown away off its bottom.
"This is the first time I'll be playing Hawaii. That's great, because I need some relaxation. It's been a stressful journey."
Bo and his band will bring that Nawlins party vibe to two gigs in Honolulu -- Sunday night downtown at the rRed Elephant and Halloween night at the Hyatt Regency in Waikiki.
The 76-year-old Bo -- born Edwin Bocage -- was touring in Paris when the hurricane hit. "But my sister was here, and it took her three days to evacuate. When the tour ended, we flew in to Philly, got the news we couldn't enter New Orleans, so we went to Houston, and then to Church Point, La., 110, 120 miles from New Orleans, and we all stayed at a friend's house. My sister joined us later.
"When I finally was able to get back home six months later, I considered myself lucky. I didn't have to rebuild from scratch, and even though my recording studio was intact, I had to do some work, but it's up and running again."
A RECIPIENT of the U.S. Congressional Lifetime Achievement Award for Jazz & Blues, Bo is one of New Orleans' most revered musicians. In the tradition of grind-'em-out blues-and-boogie pianists such as Champion Jack Dupree, Professor Longhair and James Booker, Bo can still rock the house like no other -- on the keys and singing with a hearty ringing tone.
In a set, he can bring out some of his early hits -- "I'm Wise," "Check Mr. Popeye," "Pass the Hatchet" and "Hook and Sling" -- as well as his versions of such Big Easy standards as Fats Domino's "Blueberry Hill," "Land of 1,000 Dances" and "Iko Iko."
The man has had his fair share of schooling. After serving in the Army, he returned to New Orleans to continue his musical education at the Grunewald School of Music, learning to sight read, arrange and understand music theory.
"I don't take (my piano playing) lightly," Bo said. "I practice a lot, even though I've been doing carpentry since I was 5 years old. All of the males in our family, it's part of our heritage, doing carpentry and bricklaying. It's always been something to fall back on. I'm helping a friend right now to do his house, and it's been kinda stressful.
"I work in the morning around 5 on my house, and 12 to 6 on his. It's taking a lot of work to get these houses back in shape, but a lot of people have been helping me.
"But I always take time for music. Yes sir, carpentry and piano. When you break it down, it's all mathematics. When I play a song, I always play it differently. The creativity never stops."