BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Legendary Baton Rouge blues musician Henry Gray, 94, is now in hospice care, his family announced on the musician’s Facebook page.
Several of Gray’s fellow blues musicians have planned a benefit concert in his honor. The concert is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10 at Phil Brady’s Bar on Government Street, a venue where Gray has performed countless times throughout the years.
Chris Thomas King, Larry Garner, Kenny Neal, Lil’ Ray Neal and Smokehouse, and Mamie Porter are scheduled to perform. Admission is $10.
Gray, a singer-pianist, was born in Kenner but grew up in East Baton Rouge Parish. He moved to Chicago in 1947 to pursue his blues career.
Baton Rouge blues musician, Michael Foster, says the most amazing thing about Gray is his playing ability with his left hand. He says he used to play the blues differently, and less effectively.
“I watched and listened to his left hand and I patterned my bass line after what he did with his left hand,” said Foster."Then the next time I had a blues gig, I was getting high fives."
“Anybody that plays the piano will tell you that Henry has the best left hand in the business of playing the piano,” said his representative, Johnny Palazzotto.
During his career, Gray performed and recorded with such blues legends as Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and B.B. King.
Gray moved back to Baton Rouge in 1968 but did not stop playing the blues. He continued to play major events throughout the U.S. and the world including the Chicago Blues Festival, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and the Baton Rouge Blues Festival.
He also performed at Mick Jagger’s 55th birthday party in Paris.
Gray has remained actively playing music until 2019. His most recent album, entitled “92” was recorded in Maurice, La. in 2017.
Gray won’t be able to attend the concert, according to his great grandson, DeAndre Tate, but Tate, who says Gray raised him, says Gray would be playing if he could.
“I’m pretty sure that if he was out of the bed, he would muster up the strength to play,” said Tate.
All proceeds from the benefit concert at Phil Brady’s Bar will go to Gray.
Phil Brady’s Bar is located at 4848 Government St.