The ColaJazz Foundation is hosting a celebratory concert in honor of Drink Small’s 90th birthday at the South Carolina State Museum on Saturday, Feb. 4 from 5 – 7:30 p.m. The event features performances by Drink Small and fellow blues legend Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues. Photos with Drink Small will be available following the concert. Tickets can be purchased online.
Kicking off Black History Month at the State Museum, the concert is hosted in tandem with Drink Small Day, a day the museum is dedicating to honoring Drink Small’s career, legacy and profound musical impact. Tickets purchased for the concert will include admission to the museum to enjoy a curated Drink Small exhibit, a new art piece featuring a guitar made of guitar picks, Drink Small music and a 4:30 p.m. event where a birthday cake will be presented to Small in honor of his birthday.
Known as the Blues Doctor, Drink Small was born in Bishopville in Lee County where his family sharecropped. At age seven, he taught himself to play guitar on his uncle's one string. Beginning as a gospel performer, he first recorded with The Spiritualaires in 1956 on Vee Jay Records. He later toured with The Staples Singers and Sam Cooke. By 1959, he turned his focus to blues, becoming famous for his basso profondo voice, his Piedmont-style guitar and his stage banter referred to as "Drink-isms." Small was named a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellow in 2015.
The ColaJazz Foundation was founded in 2014 by Mark Rapp and is dedicated to growing, supporting and promoting jazz in the Midlands through events, education, recordings and advocacy.