The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events originally planned to celebrate the Year of Chicago Music in 2020. Then the pandemic diminished those festivities to the point that the city declared 2021 the Year of Chicago Music too. The ongoing surge of the Delta variant means the U.S. won’t be rid of the pandemic […]
Blues music thrives on live interaction between performer and audience, but for nearly a year and a half, that’s been in short supply. Clubs are caught between “waiting to reopen” and “slowly coming back,” and Millennium Park has been largely quiet—for two Junes running, the city has canceled the Chicago Blues Festival. Our blues artists […]
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For nearly 70 years, Bob Koester owned the Jazz Record Mart and Delmark Records—and though his businesses could be “crazy town,” they helped nurture thriving communities.
Andrew “Big Voice” Odom toured internationally—and also used to drop by Maxwell Street and overwhelm the makeshift sound systems.
Veteran DJ Vince Adams and nonagenarian bluesman Jimmy Johnson both took to livestreaming during the pandemic.
Despite a 1952 smash for Chess Records, pianist Willie Mabon was soon overshadowed by labelmates such as Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters.
Blues patriarch Big Daddy Kinsey had three sons who played together as the Kinsey Report.
Bluesman Johnny Shines spent the late 30s on the road with the great Robert Johnson, then lived long enough to win a W.C. Handy Award in the 90s.
The Aces are best known as a backing band, but they took the lead when it came to the future of the blues.
Kokomo Arnold’s recording career lasted less than a decade, but he changed the world by influencing the likes of Robert Johnson and Elmore James.
Chicago natives and lifelong hip-hop heads Ibrahem Hasan and Matthew Rivera met decades ago while crate digging at a flea market. Their new self-titled debut as Bless the Mad, released by their own Stay the Course label, exudes a collector’s care for music history and a producer’s ear for finding overlooked diamonds and giving them […]
Bill Coday’s early releases, especially on Denise LaSalle’s Crajon label, have been widely reissued—and his later soul-blues recordings are beloved too.
Chicago blueswoman Mary Lane has been making music for more than 70 years. She should be a legend, but she can barely pay her bills.
The Year of Chicago Music has had less music in it than anybody anticipated, but we still have plenty to celebrate.