Steve Blailock, a consummate guitarist and banjo player who was a fixture on the New Orleans jazz scene for some two decades, died on July 19, 2013 in Pearland, Texas. Police allege that Blailock shot his wife, Jing Blailock, and then turned the gun on himself. He was 69.
Blailock was a native of McComb, Mississippi where he absorbed the blues. In the late ’50s and early ’60s, he made frequent trips to New Orleans and was further influenced by the rhythm and blues that was booming at the time. He once said that he also spent time listening to modern jazz players like pianist Ellis Marsalis and saxophonist Nat Perrilliat.
Blailock took to the road when he was still a teenager and found work in studios in Nashville, Tennessee. He then headed to Los Angeles and performed with such notables as vocalists Lou Rawls and Big Mama Thorton.
The fretman moved to New Orleans in 1984 and applied his considerable skills to yet another genre, traditional jazz. For some 20 years, Blailock performed at the InterContinental Hotel’s jazz brunch with trumpeter Gregg Stafford’s Young Tuxedo Quartet. He was also heard regularly at Preservation Hall and the Palm Court Jazz Cafe and traveled to New York to perform at the Village Vanguard with clarinetist Dr. Michael White‘s band.
An extremely versatile musician, Blailock was heard as a sideman on a number of recordings and released his own album, Mixed Bag, in 1996.
Blailock and his wife moved to Texas prior to Hurricane Katrina. His last appearance in the city was at the 2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He played in the Economy Hall Tent as a member of Gregg Stafford’s Jazz Hounds.
Steve Blailock – “Careless Love”