Blues guitarist Peter Malick enjoyed a surprising career resurgence early in the 21st century after decades of obscurity, much of them spent outside the music business. His first taste of success came in his teens in the 1960s; he was 16 when his band Listening was signed to Vanguard Records. His youthful talent as a guitarist led to stints backing up such blues legends as John Lee Hooker, Otis Spann, Big Mama Thornton, and Muddy Waters. After serving as guitarist and musical director for the national touring company of the Broadway musical Hair in the early 1970s, he joined the James Montgomery Band and appeared on two of the group's albums, First Time Out (1973) and High Roller (1974).
Then came 20 years outside of music, during which Malick struggled with addiction and earned money primarily as a gambler and in the gaming business. But by 1994, he had cleaned up and returned to music. Based in Boston, he launched a band and recorded the albums Wrong Side of My Life (1998) and Sons of the Jet Age (2000). In 2001, his work on the final Otis Spann album Last Call won him a W.C. Handy Award for historic album of the year.
Malick began to work with several young, up-and-coming female vocalists whom he heard while touring, writing and recording with them. One of them was Norah Jones, and after she rose to fame in 2002, Malick issued an EP of his recordings with her, New York City, that reached the top half of the Billboard 200. It was followed by a full-length album, Chance & Circumstance, that repeated the Jones' tracks and added work with four other singers, one of them Malick's daughter, Mercy Malick. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi