Guitarist Sues Etta James Over Canceled Gigs

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – Guitarist Leo Nocentelli claims blues singer Etta James hired him to play for a year-long tour, but canceled numerous jobs because of bad health before firing him abruptly.

     Nocentelli says he played with James for three months in early 2008 before she started canceling shows. Nocentelli says he declined two other offers to work for James, one of them with the Savoy Ellington Orchestra.
     The guitarist says he had a contract guaranteeing him $800 per show, plus per diem and expenses.
     But in June 2008, James’ tour manager told Nocentelli that the 71-year-old singer was canceling two months of shows and the band’s European tour. James has suffered from complications of gastric bypass surgery.
     Nocentelli says he waited for James to resume the tour in August, but her agent fired him when the tour started back up, saying, “You should have figured it out.”
     James revived her tour that month with every band member that started the tour except Nocentelli, according to the lawsuit.
     Then James allegedly neglected to remove Nocentelli’s name from the list of her touring band on the music industry Web site Pollstar. Nocentelli says that move cost him more jobs.
     Nocentelli is represented in Superior Court by Thomas Brackey II and Derek Lemkin.

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