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.
Blues patriarch Big Daddy Kinsey had three sons who played together as the Kinsey Report.
By the early 90s Lurrie Bell didn’t even own a guitar anymore, but now he’s got a shelf full of Blues Music Awards.
John Littlejohn’s raw slide-guitar style grew from the same soil that produced Elmore James, but he never became a star outside the Windy City.
Most of Lucille Spann’s recordings were with her spouse, blues pianist Otis Spann, but she released a great solo album in 1974.
Calvin “Fuzz” Jones, who spent most of his five-decade career in Chicago, was one of the most prominent sidemen in electric blues.
In a career more than 50 years long, Roulette has lent his slide stylings to the likes of Earl Hooker, Charlie Musselwhite, and John Lee Hooker.
Formed at Northwestern in 1979, the Front Lines played diverse and ambitious tunes—but they split after just a few years, done in by drummer turnover.
Gerri’s Palm Tavern, once a crown jewel of Bronzeville, was shut down by the city in 2001. But blues harpist Billy Branch remains dedicated to preserving the history and culture it embodied.
The Secret History of Chicago: a Howlin’ Wolf imitator who did time for shooting a fellow bluesman dead.
Norah Jones takes it easy, while Laura Veirs doesn’t; Carey Bell dead at 70.