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Is Gen Z guitar wiz Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram, 25, the heir apparent to Buddy Guy and B.B. King?

George Varga, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Entertainment News

"But once I started to learn to play, I really got into his music from about age 12. I had Jimi's 'Greatest Hits' CD. And I was affected just hearing him hitting the first note of 'Purple Haze.' He was the first Black guy who came out with that type of style. Everybody else back then was pretty much playing straight-ahead blues. Jimi created this whole new thing."

Prince, another prime Ingram influence, was similarly impacted by Hendrix.

"Most definitely," Ingram agreed. "When it comes to (guitar) tones and riffs, I think all of us were influenced by Jimi."

Yet, while Hendrix's music was revolutionary for its time, Ingram's is more evolutionary.

'In the pocket'

Unlike Hendrix, he isn't redefining the electric guitar, per se, and isn't a psychedelic trailblazer.

 

But Ingram is steeped in the same endlessly rich blues firmament, while adeptly drawing from rock, funk, R&B and other styles. And he is a more confident and accomplished singer than Hendrix, who — by his own acknowledgment — always felt more comfortable playing guitar than he did singing.

"My vocal range is getting broader," Ingram said. "And when I play, I try to really say something. As far as my age goes, I think I've grown a little deeper with my music."

An increasingly assured songwriter, Ingram is a fleet guitarist who makes each note count. His playing can be fierce and biting, sweet and tender, or almost anywhere in between, depending on the song and mood at hand.

Yet, while Ingram is an authoritative soloist who can expertly build dynamic tension with his music, he is also an anomaly for his age. Where many other 20-something guitarists love to showboat and cram as much as they can into every bar they play, Ingram never overdoes it. Instead, he performs with consistent taste, gaining maximum impact by knowing when to pull back and when to say more by saying less.

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