Leon Russell On The Mend – Kalamazoo Appearance ‘a Go’
The legendary rock musician Leon Russell has had recent health issues that caused the cancellation of summer concert appearances, but it looks like Kalamazoo is still a “go” when the tour resumes this fall.
Russell suffered a heart attack in July, and is now recovering from bypass surgery, but it appears that he will still be able to make his October appearance at Bell’s Eccentric Café, in Kalamazoo.
Leon, a longtime resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma, started as a piano playing session musician who backed-up such artist as The Beach Boys, George Harrison, Ray Charles, Badfinger, Elton John, the Ventures and the Rolling Stones, to name just a handful.
One of his most memorable appearances was the Concert for Bangladesh, which George Harrison organized to raise funds for the famine which was taking place in 1971.
My favorite Leon story was told to me when I was a young vagabond hitchhiking down the coast of California in the early ‘70’s. At one of my lay-overs in Santa Cruz, a young hippie from Oklahoma told about being at a Dairy Queen, in Tulsa, when a white Roll Royce pulled up. The car door opened and Leon Russell hopped-out and wandered in…end of story.
Leon played the State Theater, in Kalamazoo, a few years ago, and the gravelly voiced piano player put on a great show. He still sported the long, once silver but now white, hair and he played all the favorites….he just walks on stage a bit slower these days.
Tickets are nearly sold-out but are still available for his October, 27th appearance at Bell’s Eccentric Café.