Vivian Carter and James Bracken formed Vee-Jay Records in 1953 to produce the “good music” that listeners of Vivian’s radio broadcasts and customers of her record store in Gary, Indiana, wanted to hear. By “good music,” her audience—largely southern-born African American migrants to the Chicago region—didn’t mean classical or pop. They hungered for electric blues, […]
Ari Brown hasn’t often sought the spotlight, but his blend of bebop rigor and avant-garde daring puts him on par with the likes of Fred Anderson and Von Freeman.
Chicago soul-funk band Pieces of Peace didn’t put out their only album till 35 years after they broke up.
For two decades, a short stretch of Michigan Avenue hosted a concentration of creative entrepreneurship whose influence on Black popular music is still felt today.
This 95-year-old living legend has played jazz, written blaxploitation soundtracks, and arranged for Stan Getz, B.B. King, and most famously Curtis Mayfield—but he’s probably most widely heard via hip-hop samples.
She’s best known for the 1968 hit “Love Makes a Woman,” but she also had a productive songwriting duo with Eugene Record of the Chi-Lites.
An expert negotiator, he went to bat for stars as big as James Brown and Muddy Waters, but he also clawed back royalties for countless forgotten artists who’d never gotten their due.