REST IN PEACE.Jack Cohen, a member of the San Francisco Bay Area blues community who tirelessly promoted the local blues scene there, has died, likely of a heart attack on Feb. 7, according to a Facebook post by singer Cathy Lemons (The Lucky Losers). Jack maintained a calendar of local blues shows he called Jack's Blues Clues.
VERY SAD AND DISTURBING NEWS.Scott Sessions, the trumpet player for the Denver-based band, The Movers and Shakers, was murdered Feb. 10. According to an article in The Coloradoan, Kevin Dean Eastman, 48, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder, a Class 1 felony, and tampering with a deceased human body, a Class 3 felony. Sessions' body was found in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests west of Fort Collins, CO. In a bizarre twist, according to CBS Denver, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that the death of a Greeley woman who was found in a house near Greeley, "is connected to the murder of a Greeley musician [Scott Sessions]." The Movers and Shakers were just in Memphis and made it to the semifinals at the 2020 International Blues Challenge.
The Movers and Shakers' SAT, FEB 29 gig at Moe's Original BBQ and Bowl (3295 S Broadway, Englewood, CO) has been changed to the Scott Sessions Memorial and will also include two other bands, the Jessica Jones Project and Stonewall Blvd. A total of 50% of proceeds from the gig will go to Scott's family to offset funeral costs. There also will be a memorial and celebration of Sessions’ life on SAT, MAR 28 from 4-8pm at the Journey Christian Church (4754 W 31st St, Greeley). READ THE STORY ANOTHER ARTICLE (from KUNC)
GET SCHOOLED. Slide guitar master Donna Herula will be teaching several guitar classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music, beginning Sunday, March 8. GET MORE INFO
A GOOD CAUSE. Blues in the Domes 2020, the inaugural fundraiser for the Chicago Blues Revival,will be held Wednesday, Feb. 26 (630-845pm) at Open Outcry Brewing Co. (10934 S. Western). The $75 price of admission includes a donation to Chicago Blues Revival plus pizza and beer, and music by Joe Filisko, the Smiley Tillmon and Tom Rezetki Duo, and more. Chicago Blues Revival is a new nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure the next generation of blues music in Chicago and to support blues programs, particularly on the south and west sides of the city.
NAME CHANGE. 210 Live in Highwood is now known as Club 210 and, as reported earlier, is now owned by Ron Onesti. What hasn't changed: the good food and the even better music.
THERE'S MUSIC IN THE AIR. In case you forgot, it's the Year of Chicago Music and the logo for the new brand is at right.
Here's what you can do to contribute: GO OUT AND SUPPORT LIVE (preferably BLUES) MUSIC....this year and every year. We've got sooo many great choices every day and every night.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN.Buddy Guy has quite the touring schedule in 2020–and I have only seen part of the schedule. A few specifics caught my eye...he will be playing at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (4.26), Blues on the Fox (6.20 in Aurora) and the Big Blues Bender (9.13) in Vegas. Those of us in Chicago get to see Buddy often, but if you don't live in Sweet Home, now's your chance.
TAKIN' A BREAK.Jimmy's Charhouse (1180 Devon Ave, Elk Grove Village) has closed, supposedly for a few months. The venue had been hosting an open blues jam twice a month on Sundays so we hope they can reopen soon.
SEE THE LIGHT. The historic Church of the Epiphany (201 S. Ashland) has been turned into the Epiphany Center for the Arts, "for the Good of Art, Entertainment and Events." There is a whopping 42,000 sq. ft. of space with three distinct venues, plus art studios, a classroom, exhibit space and gallery, a commercial and catering kitchen, a café, a VIP suite and a collection of artistically appointed outdoor spaces that include a quarter-acre courtyard, a spacious terrace and a patio. Their website says the Winter/Spring 2020 Music Series and Concert Schedule is "coming soon." Can't wait to see what's planned and hope they tell me before Winter is over. LEARN MORE
#$%^@! And then there is this: The National Museum of African American Music in Nashville is schedule to opening this summer in Downtown Nashville. The website says it "will be a 56,000-square-foot facility that will encourage visitors to discover the many connections and influences that composers have had on all genres of music. From classical to country to jazz and hip hop, NMAAM will integrate history and interactive technology to share the untold story of more than 50 music genres and subgenres. It will be an unparalleled institution, not confined by record label, genre or recording artist, but instead will tell a unique narrative through the lens of black music."
I am annoyed for two reasons:
I don't understand why they cannot use the word "blues" in the above description, even though the video linked below does mention the museum will tell the "story of the blues from the 1880s to the modern era." Of course it must.
It's not an announcement of the great music museum we are all waiting for in Chicago.
Seriously, though, a big congrats to Nashville for getting this done. It looks amazing and I cannot wait to see it. Your move, Chicago. Wouldn't the Year of Chicago Music be the perfect time to announce our spectacular music museum? WATCH THE VIDEO LEARN MORE
Shoji Naito | Westmont to Chicago: Tribute to Eddy Clearwater RELEASE DATE: 2020 (Ogden Records) Shoji Naito, a longtime member of Eddy Clearwater's Band, has put together a loving tribute to The Chief, featuring four songs with Eddy on them, plus 11 other tracks by artists who were members of Eddy's band and a few special musicians that Eddy supported and inspired. Besides the guys from Eddy's regular band (Tom Crivellone, Steve Bass and Shoji Naito), guests include Ariyo, Win Noll, Willie Buck, Ginny Morin and Lee Kanehira.
Jimmy Johnson | Every Day of Your Life RELEASE DATE: Jan. 17, 2020 (Delmark)
This new release from the 91-year-old guitarist proves that he is still at the top of his game, 40 years after his debut Delmark album, Johnson's Whacks. This album has five originals plus four others, including a killer version of Fenton Robinson's Somebody Loan Me a Dime. Talk about a living legend and an inspiration to us all. GO SEE HIM LIVE: Jimmy Johnson is having a CD Release Party at SPACE in Evanston TONIGHT (Run there now..the show begins at 8pm). You can also catch him regularly all over town, including a weekly Sunday afternoon gig at Lagunitas Tap Room.
Harry Hmura | All I Need RELEASE DATE: Feb. 29, 2020 (Stormcloud Records)
Nine tracks of rockin' blues from a guitarist who grew up on Chicago's South Side and was a member of James Cotton's band when he was just 20 years old. He plays regularly in and out of town, is a respected session musician and teaches guitar part-time at Columbia College. CD RELEASE PARTY: March 7 @ Harlem Ave. Lounge, Berwyn
Alex Dixon | The Real McCoy RELEASE DATE: March 2020 (Dixon Landing Music)
You cannot call yourself a real blues fan if you don't know the Dixon name. Alex Dixon, the grandson of the late Chicago blues master Willie Dixon, has joined with Lewis "Big Lew" Powell on this CD, which features the classic Chicago blues sound we love. A few of Willie's classics are included mixed in with several originals. Steve Bell (son of Cary) is on harp, and other players include Sugar Blue, Melvin Taylor, Rico McFarland, Gino Matteo and Alvino Bennett. Alex Dixon's 13-year-old daughter also makes her vocal debut on the single, Nothin New Under the Sun, which was released Jan. 7. LISTEN TO THE SINGLE HERE
GET EXCITED NOW
There are quite a few other new recordings coming out soon, including ones fromDonna Herula, Buddy Guy, Liz Mandeville (who is having a CD Release Party at Legends on March 15), Vanessa Collier and the Mary Jo Curry Band. Stay tuned–and stay excited.
OUT AND ABOUT
HEROES & HEARTS BENEFIT THE SONS OF CHICAGO
The Sons of Chicago entertained the crowded that gathered at the beautiful Mayne Stage in Rogers Park to raise money for the Little Heroes League at Lurie Children's Hospital. With Tracee Adams fronting the band with Gary Feracota, you know everyone had a great time. A jazz band also played before and during the dinner hour. THE PHOTOS
2.10.20 @ Café Logan University of Chicago
SECOND MONDAY BLUES with JW Williams and Billy Branch Billy Branch welcomed one of his former partner in crime down to Café Logan for a little reminiscing and a lot of great music. JW Williams still plays regularly both BLUES and Blue Chicago with his band, the ChiTown Hustlers. THE PHOTOS
The Blues Pro Jam is a more or less monthly event at Reggie's Music Joint with a killer main band that usually includes Billy Flynn, Roosevelt Purifoy, Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith, Dave Katzman and either Bob Stroger or Melvin Smith backing a special guest. This month the guest was the wonderfully talented Gerry Hundt.
Here's who also showed up to play: Willie Buck, Frank Raven, Rodney Brown, Chainsaw Dupont,Laurance Glasser, and Rodrigo Mantovani and Patrick Seals from the Nick Moss Band.