THE BLUES HAD A BABY. Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation in the historic Chess Records building (2120 S. Michigan) is hosting the world premiere in June of a new photo exhibit, The Rolling Stones at Chess, that celebrates the 55th anniversary of the Rolling Stones' 1st sessions at Chess. The photos were taken by Bob Bonis, who was a talent agent at MCA. He became the tour manager for the Rolling Stones' first five trips to the U.S. between 1964 and 1966 and also was the tour manager for all three of the Beatles' U.S. tours. He took more than 2700 candid photos of the Stones during his time with them, but was not interested in publicity so only a few of the photographs were ever published in the 1960s. Bonis died in 1992 and now the negatives and slides that had been stored for almost 50 years, are being shown and sold in limited edition prints. MORE INFO THE BOB BONIS ARCHIVE
THE DEETS PHOTO EXHIBIT GRAND OPENING June 5, 2019 | 6–10pm
Blues Heaven Foundation
$15 (Supports the Blues Heaven Foundation's Studio Restoration Project)
Exhibit runs through Saturday, June 29. HOURS: TUES–SAT Noon–4pm
Tour included with admission price. ONE MORE SORTA RELATED THING: The Rolling Stones have rescheduled their 2019 U.S. tour (remember that Mick had that little heart thing) and will be in Chicago for two shows at Soldier Field, June 21 and 25. Maybe they will want to see the exhibition, too, to relive old times.
TONY COLTER UPDATE. As you know, Tony Colter, SIriusXM Bluesville and Watercolors DJ, passed away in early May after suffering a stroke on April 11. He was 66. His daughter recently posted on Facebook that Tony did not want a formal funeral, but had planned to become an advocate for stroke awareness to help other people. Since he never got to fulfill his plan, the family has asked that if you want to do something, donate to The National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.
REMEMBERING MAXWELL STREET. Author Tim Cresswell, will talk about his new book, Maxwell Street: Writing and Thinking Place(mentioned in last week's newsletter) on June 7 at 1pm at Chicago State University (9501 S. King Dr.). More details as they surface. And shouldn't there be a talk at the Logan Center at the University of Chicago since the UofC Press actually did the book?
R.I.P. OKA. Ariyo, a well-known piano player in the local blues community who plays often around town with Billy Branch and just about everyone else, posted on Facebook that Oka Yuzo, his longtime friend and one of the best Japanese bass players, has died. Give Ariyo a hug next time you see him. No more info is available.
HISTORY LESSON. WDCB radio journalist Leslie Keros and blues harpist/educator Billy Branch will discuss the pioneering music and influence of three of Chicago's greatest blues musicians–Muddy Waters,Howlin' Wolf and Junior Wells–at 530pm on Thursday, May 23 at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington, Studio Theater, 1st Floor). The discussion is last of the five-part Digging Our Roots series that is conducted seminar-style, and allows the audience to listen to recordings and join in the conversation afterward. The series has been curated by Howard Mandel, president of the Jazz Journalists Association and a Jazz Institute Board member.
BE AN EXTRA. Linsey Alexander is recording live at Rosa's Lounge tonight and tomorrow (MAY 16–17) for a new Delmark CD release. Be there.
JUST JAMMIN'.Mondo Cortez, Smokey Campbell and James Digirolimo will be hosting a new weekly blues jam beginning Wednesday, May 29, at The Blarney Stone in Oak Forest.
CROSS THOSE FINGERS. The 2019 Square Roots Festival, the Old Town School of Folk Music and the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce's craft beer and music extravaganza in Chicago's Lincoln Square will be held July 12–14 and will feature more than 70 bands and artists from around the world. They have not yet released a lineup, but we can hope that they will give at least a small nod to the blues in their programming.
PUT ON YOUR DANCIN' SHOES. The SummerDance schedule is out and there are a few particularly fun shows to put on your calendar. SummerDance is usually at the Spirit of Music Garden (601 S. Michigan), but during Taste of Chicago, it will move to Buckingham Fountain (301 S. Columbus). How fun is that????? Here's the ones I hope to attend: @ SPIRIT OF MUSIC GARDEN | 6-930pm
THURS, JUN 27 | The Flat Cats (Blues-ish)
THURS, JUL 4 | Terrance Simien and The Zydeco Experience (Zydeco)
SAT, AUG 10 | Cash Box Kings
FRI, AUG 16 | Morry Sochat and the Special 20s
@ BUCKINGHAM FOUNTAIN | 530-830pm
THURS, JUL 11 | Lynne Jordan and the Shivers (Blues-ish)
SPEAKING OF THE TASTE. There will be lots of food and music in the park for the Taste of Chicago, but the two blues acts on the Goose Island Stage are the only ones I care about:
THURS, JUL 11 @ 4-5pm | Ivy Ford Band
SUN, JUL 14 @ 120-220pm | Jamiah Rogers
MARK YOUR CALENDAR. Jeff Dale has planned "a super blow out CD release party" somewhere in Chicago on Saturday, June 22. More info to come. Just please don't let it be out in Barrington, which might as well be Iowa.
WTF. It was one of those terrible stories you can find daily if you wander the internet like I often do. In this case, it was about how Kenny Burrell, an 87-year-old influential blues-ish jazz guitarist and composer, was facing financial ruin and homelessness due to a #$%#storm of events that started a downward spiral in 2016. The good news is that a GoFundMe page started by his wife Katherine had raised (at press time) $188,976 in just 7 days from 3507 donors. What was interesting to me was this NPR story that was likely a huge embarrassment to UCLA, where Burrell is a Distinguished Professor of Music and Global Jazz Studies at UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music. Hmmmm.
GOOGLE IT. OK, I will admit that I really had no idea who the bands are that are in this week's PLAN AHEAD section (I do know about Chicago Plays the Stones)...but that is what Google is for, isn't it? Are they good? No idea...that's what YouTube will help you decide.
AND ONE MORE (ANNOYING) THING. Was it really necessary for Eric Clapton to end a recent London show with Purple Rain? (No, I don't think so). He knows so many other songs.
It was my first trip to The Blues Music Awards in Memphis and I had planned much time on Beale Street. Instead, while I did make it to the Awards ceremony on Thursday night and an interesting panel discussion on the complicated subject, The Blues and Race, Part 2, the rest of my time in Memphis was spent in a Theraflu-induced coma-like state. And no, I did not invent a new drink...I had a super-nasty cold.
HERE ARE A FEW RANDOM HIGHLIGHTS/OBSERVATIONS
THE COOL FACTOR: Steven Van Zandt (E Street Band, SIriusXM's Underground Garage,The Sopranos, Lilyhammer, etc. etc. etc.) was the host.
THE EMOTIONAL MOMENTS:When Michael Ledbetter's family took the stage to accept the three awards he won posthumously. Note that in his short career, he won a total of four Blues Music Awards:
2018: Traditional Blues Album of the Year: Right Place, Right Time (Welch Ledbetter Connection)
2019: BB King Entertainer of the Year
Band of the Year (Welch Ledbetter Connection)
THE IT'S ABOUT TIME MOMENT:Nick Moss finally won a BMA for Best Traditional Male Blues Artist. His first nomination was in 2003 and there have been 20+ nominations and 0 wins until now. Some things just don't make sense.
THE YIPPEE MOMENT:I finally got to hear a taste of two artists (Rory Block and Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band) that I have been missing for years for one reason or another.
THE HOORAY FOR CHICAGO MOMENT:Not only did Michael Ledbetter make a clean sweep, other Chicago artists like Shemekia Copeland, Buddy Guy, Nick Moss (and Dennis Gruenling, who we count since he is in the NIck Moss Band) did OK. And I think Alligator's Bruce Iglauer was also pretty happy with his artists, too.
THE I DON'T REALLY GET IT MOMENT: So there is a BB King Entertainer Award that a woman (Beth Hart) was nominated for (Ledbetter won, of course). Then there was the Koko Taylor Award, which apparently is for only Traditional Blues Female Artists. And finally there is the Traditional Blues Male Artist award, which doesn't get a legendary name attached to it. Hmm.
THE IT'S A SMALL, SMALL WORLD MOMENT:We sat at a table with a guy who not only had played with Eddie Taylor and Eddie Jr., but knew (and still sees) some of my partner in crime's old friends he thought were missing in action.
The music was great, the food was yummy and Memphis just keeps getting better and better. We will be back so we can get down to Beale St. ALL THE 2019 BMA WINNERS
LAST CALL! DEADLINE TO ENTER:MON, MAY 20 @ Midnight THURS, JUN 6 @ City Winery
PRE-BLUES FEST BASH
Featuring Corky Siegel, Chamber Blues, Lynne Jordan, Toronzo Cannon and some special surprises
Start your blues fest weekend in fine style with some of Chicago's best.
HOW TO ENTER
EMAIL SUBJECT: Get the Blues Fest Party Started BODY OF EMAIL: Your name, email address & phone ENTER RIGHT NOW Remember that only Chicago Blues News subscribers can enter...but you can do it once each day during the contest.
So many choices, so little time. Know about a show I don't? Tell Me About It...please.
ONE MORE THING: Always call before you go if you have your heart set on a particular show...things can change.