Twenty-years-young, Solomon Hicks is the real deal. He has performed with the Cotton Club Orchestra since he was thirteen years old and is now a mainstay with the JC Hopkins Biggish Band and featured on their newly released album entitled “Meet Me at Minton’s” as lead guitarist and vocalist.
JC Hopkins Biggish Band featuring King Solomon Hicks and Alita Moses will be appearing at Iridium on Tuesday, November 29 at 8:30 pm. To make reservations, call 212.582.2121 or visit their website: www.theiridium.com. See what the buzz is about.
NiteLife Exchange had some questions for Solomon Hicks.
NiteLife Exchange: When did you first realize that you had a gift for making music?
It wasn’t that I realized I had a gift. It was I liked playing with the musicians I was around in Harlem and it made me want to play the songs they were playing because I liked it( jazz standards, r&b, blues) also when I started doing gigs on my birthday since about 14 I knew music was more than just a hobby. It is my passion.
NLE: Who were the guitarists who had early influences on you?
King Solomon Hicks: Two mentors who had the most influence on my playing were Melvin Sparks for jazz and Junior Mack for blues. But Russell Malone, Lucky Peterson, Clarence Spady and of course the Otis Rush, Freddie King, Grant Green Jimmy Ponder and Santana.
NLE: If you could sit down for one hour with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be and what would be the first question you’d ask them?
KSH: I would want to sit down with James Brown. I’ve always admired how he controlled his band and his show. My questions would be about his work ethic and I have a few dance/singing questions as well.
NLE: You’ve mastered several styles of guitar playing from jazz and blues to rock. If someone were to ask you to describe the music you create, how would you reply?
KSH: I’m a blues musician with a jazz mind. I like to create music that moves your soul in a simple way.
NLE: At a very young age, you have become one of the best in the Blues genre and are “Carrying On The Torch of the Blues”. How do you see yourself continuing to build the legacy of the Blues?
KSH: I see myself telling the story of the ‘blues’ in my life as well playing the traditional songs from deceased and living master blues players. The blues has so much history and I find the same love stories that happened in 1920 still go on in 2016, and I want to show how. I want people to hear my songs, get inspired, and look up who the real master of blues playing are who I listen and learn from. (Elmore James, T bone walkers)
NLE Style and showmanship count and certainly your playing the guitar behind your back brings those elements to your performance. How did you come up with that idea?
KSH: When I was around 7 years old I found out about Jimi Hendrix, Freddie King, T bone walker, Stevie Ray Vaughn and they are all guitar player who played behind there backs. So for fun I messed around with it. Later on when I started working at the Cotton Club in Harlem at 13 years old playing there three nights a week I incorporated playing guitar behind my back in my show and got better at it over the years.