Get your Best of Chicago tickets! Line-Up Announced >>

Posted inThe Secret History of Chicago Music

Jazz bassist Cleveland Eaton had a career almost too vast to imagine

I’ve been covering underappreciated artists in the Secret History of Chicago Music for more than 18 years, but as I research a subject, I still sometimes catch myself wondering: “Why is this person not a universally beloved household name?” Cleveland Eaton is just such a case. He was a composer, bandleader, producer, arranger, publisher, teacher, […]

Posted inThe Secret History of Chicago Music

Soul vocal group the Independents grew out of a powerful songwriting duo

All forms of art speak of their time, and during events of historical significance, art reliably reflects those changes, whether overtly or subtly. Often the artists themselves respond by creating new aesthetics or philosophies. Righteous Chicago soul group the Independents didn’t catalyze a musical revolution of their own, but they still prove the point: they […]

Posted inThe Secret History of Chicago Music

It’s never too late to give soul-blues master Bobby Jonz his flowers

We Americans don’t seem to want to deal with this pesky pandemic anymore—not to take precautions and certainly not to grieve our country’s losses, which topped one million lives almost a year ago. Even our president, who at first seemed to have our backs, has declared the crisis over. Meanwhile the body count keeps climbing, […]

Posted inMusic

Remembering the Big Boss Lady

“I’m the mother and the grandmother of the blues,” Johnnie Mae Dunson declared in a 2005 interview with the Chicago Tribune, and I won’t argue. “When I first started playing in Chicago, in the ’40s, people said ugly things about a woman who plays the blues,” she recalled. “They said, ‘She must not be a […]