Alvin Jett grew up in East St. Louis, a blues town even if it doesn’t have the reputation of Chicago or
the Mississippi Delta or Memphis.
His father was a drummer, playing around with local bands and getting the call to back big names
including Little Milton and Albert King when they passed through town.
Blues musicians would jam in the family’s garage.
His father was interested in getting his kids involved in music, so he left instruments around the house.
Alvin Jett said as a youngster he would "dabble" on guitar. It wasn’t until after a stint in
the U.S. Navy when he was 20 that the blues bug bit him, and he moved on from noodling
the "Smoke on the Water’ lick to playing the serious, sizzling blues riffs that he’s delivered to
audience in St. Louis and the region for about 25 years.
Alvin Jett and the Phat noiZ Blues Band will perform at the Cla-Zel in downtown Bowling Green
Friday as part of a double bill with Nashville-based bluesman Stacy Mitchhart. The music starts at 7 p.m.
with doors opening at 6. Before the show, Mitchhart and Jett will greet fans and perform a short
acoustic set across North Main Street at Finders Records.
Growing up Jett didn’t only hear his father’s music, but also the records his older brother and sister
brought home. They included the blues, of course, and rock and even Hank Williams. Country music and the
blues "go hand in hand," Jett said.
When he served on an aircraft carrier, he brought a small guitar with him "just to mess around
When he got out of the Navy, unsure of his direction, he started hanging out with a bass playing friend.
Through him and his record collection that included the Eagles, Little River Band, Jimi Hendrix and
Santana, Jett decided to get serious about mastering the guitar and music.
Performing was a good match. "I was always excited when I heard live music," he said.
Jett got his first major exposure as a performer with Tommy Bankhead’s group.
The blues, he said, "still has its roots in the basic Robert Johnson stuff," but the music
continues to evolve.
"I keep my ears open and keep an open mind," Jett said. "If you close yourself off, you’re
really limiting yourself."
The Phat noiZ Blues Band focuses on playing original material. Whoever gets the original concept for a
song can count on help from the other members of the band. "Everybody contributes to the sound…
We get together and somehow it magically comes about."
Other band members are: Frank Bauer, saxophone, Matt Davis, bass, and Corey "Woody" Woodruff,
While Jett and Mitchhart have crossed paths, this will be the first time they’ve shared a bill.
For Mitchhart the concert comes on the heels of his appearance at the Cla-Zel back in April. That was the
first time he’d performed in Bowling Green since his students days in the 1970s when he was a regular on
local bar stages.
Mitchhart said he was pleased with the response he got. A few folks came by who remembered him from his
days on the BGSU scene.
"It was almost like going back in time," he said. He found the town "not that much
different from 25 years ago."