Chicago Jazz Audio Experience
Episode 084 Chicago Music Revealed with Blues guest Jimmy Burns

Episode 084 Chicago Music Revealed with Blues guest Jimmy Burns

August 24, 2020

Singer, guitarist, and songwriter, Jimmy Burns is a contemporary bluesman who combines his Delta roots with R&B and soul to come up with a sound uniquely his own. Burns is a charismatic performer with an expressive, soulful, voice and a melodic guitar style to match. With a keen sense of his musical heritage Burns has created an upbeat style that has won critical acclaim both at home and abroad.

Born near Dublin, Mississippi in 1943, Burns was fascinated by music early on. He loved the sounds coming out of the church, and the blues he heard on the streets. Burns’ sang in church and taught himself how to play guitar while he was still in the Delta. One of his particular favorites was Lightnin’ Hopkins, His oldest brother, renowned Detroit bluesman Eddie Burns, is also a guitarist who played with John Lee Hooker for a number of years before striking out on his own.

Episode 083 Chicago Music Revealed with gusts Abigail Riccards and Jeanie Tanner

Episode 083 Chicago Music Revealed with gusts Abigail Riccards and Jeanie Tanner

August 24, 2020
Jeannie Tanner is a singer-songwriter and trumpeter who performs and records her original music - a mix of jazz, pop, R&B and Latin rhythms. She has earned six ASCAP Composer Awards and has seven Grammy-considered albums. Her album WORDS & MUSIC was named by the Chicago Tribune as one of the Best of 2017 (top 10).  “I’m reminded of what we call standards," explained Jason Marck of NPR in describing Tanner's writing style. "That’s not just Tin Pan Alley with your Gershwins, Porter, your Rodgers and Hart; I also hear Brill Building influences like Mann & Weil, King & Goffin and Bacharach & David…”
 
Ms. Tanner’s songs have been featured in many television shows and movies including “Culinary Travels with Dave Eckert” (PBS/The Travel Channel), “Revenge” (ABC), “Single Ladies” (VH1 - produced by Queen Latifah) “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” (Bravo), “Young and the Restless” (CBS) and many Hallmark holiday movies including “Christmas Cookies” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered for Christmas.” She is proud to be signed to Heavy Hitters Music in L.A. And, her music can be heard on local, national and international radio via traditional stations, Sirius XM and on the internet where she has her own Pandora station. 
 
Tanner has performed in the Chicago area for 15 years, doing public and private gigs 5-7 nights a week at venues including headlining at Andy's Jazz Club, Winter's Jazz Club, the Skokie Theatre and Davenport's Piano Bar. She plays solo, duo, trio and with her quartet - depending on the needs of the club owners/clients. These days, Tanner is composing, recording in her home studio and working on new projects with Abigail Riccards - including their weekly Facebook Live-streams together. They've been doing their DESPERATE MEASURES MUSIC SERIES: 2 Voices/2 Pianos since mid-March. Tanner has been excited to blend her voice with Abby's every week singing harmonies, playing piano, some trumpet and a little percussion. Abby & Jeannie have a great time - just two friends making music, sharing laughs and telling stories about their lives.
 
Chicago musician Abigail Riccards has made an international name for herself in the jazz and pop music community for nearly 20 years. After launching her career in New York City in 2002 at storied clubs like Birdland, the Jazz Standard, Smalls, and the Kitano, she continued to garner praise as a selected semifinalist in the 2004 Thelonius Monk International Jazz Competition. 
 
After nearly a decade on the east coast, Riccards broadened her scope to the iconic Chicago jazz scene, where she frequently headlines legendary clubs such as the Green Mill, the Jazz Showcase and Winter’s Jazz Club. After releasing her 3rd studio album in 2013, she performed on the main stage at the Chicago Jazz Festival with Matt Wilson’s Honey and Salt tour. She has also collaborated with artists such as Jane Monheit, Peter Bernstein, Joel Frahm and Mulgrew Miller.
 
 
Her live engagements have been met with generous praise from top critics. The Chicago Tribune’s Howard Reich referred to her as “a breath of fresh air...possessing a textured but radiant quality” and Christopher Loudon from JazzTimes said “Abigail Riccards has mastered the increasingly dangerous art of making less, more. Think Doris Day with Anita O'Day jazz smarts."
Episode 082 Chicago Music Revealed with guest Lakecia Benjamin

Episode 082 Chicago Music Revealed with guest Lakecia Benjamin

August 24, 2020

A charismatic and dynamic saxophonist and bandleader, Lakecia Benjamin fuses traditional conceptions of Jazz, HipHop, and Soul. Benjamin's electric presence and fiery sax work has shared stages with several legendary artists, including Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, The Roots, and Macy Gray. As the bandleader of Lakecia Benjamin and Soul Squad, she melds the vintage sounds of James Brown, Maceo Parker, Sly and the Family Stone, and the Meters with soaring, dance-floor worthy rhythms. Benjamin's grooves take the classic vibe to a whole new level with sultry alto saxophone creating something special on every cut - be it a smoldering late-night ambiance, or a forceful jazz intensity, or even the tight funk multi-horn harmony sections.
A streetwise New York City native born and raised in Washington Heights, Lakecia Benjamin first picked up the saxophone at Fiorello LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts. From there she joined the renowned jazz program at New York's New School University. However, even at that early stage, Benjamin was already playing with renowned jazz figures like Clark Terry and Reggie Workman, which introduced her to opportunities to play and tour with an array of artists such as Rashied Ali, the David Murray Big Band, Vanessa Rubin and James "Blood" Ulmer. With her deep jazz roots, she was soon in demand as an arranger and horn section leader, landing stints with such acclaimed artists as Anita Baker.

Currently Lakecia Benjamin's latest album "Pursuance" is an intergenerational masterpiece that takes one on a journey through the lineage of the music with the works of John and Alice Coltrane. Benjamin pays homage to those who have come before by featuring innovative bandleaders of her generation, such as, Reggie Workman (Coproducer and playing ), Ron carter , Gary Bartz, Dee Dee Bridegwater, Meshell Ndegecello, Regina carter, Bertha Hope, Last poets, Greg Osby, Steve Wilson, John Benitez, Marc Cary, Marcus Gilmore, Keyon Harrold, Marcus Strickland, Brandee Younger, Georgia Anne Muldrow, and Jazzmeia Horn.

Episode 081 Chicago Music Revealed with guest Denise Thimes

Episode 081 Chicago Music Revealed with guest Denise Thimes

August 24, 2020

After describing her brilliant voice as a perfect mix of Nancy, Sassy, and Lady Day, it came only naturally that the late legendary jazz trumpeter Clark Terry would, at New York’s historical Flushing Town Hall, select Denise Thimes as that night’s featured vocalist.
This truly unique and inspirational artist is often asked by fellow noteworthy musicians “why haven’t we heard of you”? Not to worry. With a voice as noticeably (as Terry puts it) “ranks with all of the greats,” it won’t be long.

Over the course of a multi-faceted career spanning just a little under 3 decades, Thimes is no stranger to the music world, growing up in a home surrounded by all types of music from her father & radio icon, the late Lou “Fatha” Thimes.

Thimes has performed with such jazz notables as Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra,(St. Louis, MO) the late Clark Terry(The Blue Note-NY), Dr. Billy Taylor, Earl May, Benny Powell,(Flushing Town Hall) and James Moody(Blue Note-NY). She has also graced the stage with the likes of Houston Person, Jimmy&Tootie Heath, Bobby McFerrin, and Bucky Pizzarelli.

Episode 080 Chicago Music Revealed with Lil’ Ed

Episode 080 Chicago Music Revealed with Lil’ Ed

July 29, 2020
In childhood, Williams and his half-brother James "Pookie" Young received encouragement and tutelage from their uncle, the blues guitarist, songwriter and recording artist J. B. Hutto, and by 1975 the half-siblings had formed the first version of the Blues Imperials. Since 1989, the band's lineup has been Williams (lead guitar and vocals), Michael Garrett (rhythm guitar and vocals), James Young (bass) and Kelly Littleton (drums). Living Blues magazine described the band as "Rough-and-ready South and West Side blues...Ed's swirling, snarling slide guitar work can be riveting, and The Imperials pound out blues-rock riffs and rhythms behind him as if they're overdosing on boogie juice." Guitar Player called the band "a snarling boogie-blues machine."
 
A decade later, Alligator Records offered them the chance to record a track, "Young Thing", for a compilation album, New Bluebloods (1987). Producer and label owner Bruce Iglauer encouraged them to record additional material, and they cut a full album's worth of material at that session, released as Roughhousin' (1986). They then appeared at music festivals and toured widely. Their second album, Chicken, Gravy & Biscuits, was released in 1989, and their third, What You See Is What You Get, in 1992. At this point the group disbanded. Williams issued two solo albums, Keep On Walking, on which he was joined by Dave Weld, a former member of the Blues Imperials, and Who's Been Talking (1998), pairing Williams with Willie Kent.
 
In 1999 the release of Get Wild marked the group's reunion. It was followed by Heads Up (2002), Rattleshake (2006), Full Tilt (2008) and Jump Start (2012).
 
Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials have appeared multiple times at the Chicago Blues Festival and festivals and clubs around the world. In June 2008, Williams played on Magic Slim's album Midnight Blues. In June 2009, Williams was a guest on the radio quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, produced by Chicago Public Radio and National Public Radio, Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials have been nominated for eight Blues Music Awards as Band of the Year and have won that award twice.
 
 
Episode 079 Chicago Music Revealed with Roxy Coss

Episode 079 Chicago Music Revealed with Roxy Coss

July 29, 2020
Musician, Composer, Bandleader, Educator and Activist Roxy Coss has performed around the world, headlining at the Newport Jazz Festival, Melbourne Big Band Festival, NYC Winter JazzFest, Earshot Jazz Festival, San Jose Jazz Summerfest, Jazz Standard, and Jazz Showcase. A recipient of an ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award, the Downbeat Critics’ Poll listed her as a "Rising Star" on Soprano Saxophone the past six years, called her "An exceptional young talent”, and Jazziz Magazine listed her an “Artist to Watch in 2019”. She has performed as a side musician with Clark Terry, Billy Kaye, Maurice Hines, Rufus Reid, Louis Hayes, Claudio Roditi, Willie Jones III, Jeremy Pelt, Darcy James Argue, and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra. Her fourth album as a leader, The Future Is Female (Posi-Tone Records), received 4.5-Star reviews from Downbeat and All About Jazz. The Roxy Coss Quintet, featuring some of the world’s finest young musicians, is the first ever recipient of the Emerging Artist Project, a four-year grant from the Local 802 Musicians Union. Roxy is on the Board of Directors for the Jazz Education Network, is on Jazz Faculty at The Juilliard School, The New School, BMCC (A CUNY College), and is the Founder of Women In Jazz Organization (WIJO). Roxy is an endorsing Artist for P. Mauriat, Vandoren, and Key Leaves.
Episode 078 Chicago Music Revealed with Michael Olatuja

Episode 078 Chicago Music Revealed with Michael Olatuja

July 29, 2020
Bassist Michael Olatuja releases Lagos Pepper Soup: his spectacular blend of West African Afrobeats and jazz, backed by a string orchestra, arranged by iconic film music arranger Dave Metzger, the top orchestrator for Disney, with an International All-Star cast featuring: Angelique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves, Brandee Younger, Lionel Loueke, Regina Carter, Joe Lovano, Laura Mvula, Gregoire Maret, and Becca Stevens.
 
The London-born, Lagos, Nigeria-raised, New York-based electric and acoustic bassist/composer/bandleader Michael Olatuja has been one of the most inventive and in-demand bassists since the early part of this century. He’s worked and recorded with one hundred artists, from Terence Blanchard, Kurt Elling and Jose James to Stevie Wonder, Shakira, and Bebe Winans, and recorded two CD’s as a leader, Speak (2009), which the website All About Jazz proclaimed was “a propulsive and pleasing record,” and The Promise by The Olatuja Project - a duo with Alicia Olatuja (2011). Nearly five years in the making, Olatuja’s new, twelve-track CD, Lagos Pepper Soup, named after a zesty, West African meal, with lyrics mostly in Yoruba and English, and recorded in London and New York, is his most comprehensive and compelling album to date.
Episode 077 Chicago Music Revealed with Rudy Royston

Episode 077 Chicago Music Revealed with Rudy Royston

July 29, 2020

First-call drummer Rudy Royston (Bill Frisell, JD Allen, Dave Douglas) has honed a thoroughly engaging voice as a composer and bandleader. His releases include his compelling debut '303' (2014), the raw and bracing trio follow-up 'Rise of Orion' (2016) and the chamber quintet release 'Flatbed Buggy' (2018). 

076 Chicago Music Revealed with Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith

076 Chicago Music Revealed with Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith

July 28, 2020

Kenny Smith was unquestionably born into blues royalty. He grew up in the same house where Muddy Waters once lived in Chicago, the home of the blues. Throughout his childhood, Kenny was surrounded by Muddy and his friends, which included his own father, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith (1936-2011). These same blues icons helped mold him into the person and drummer he is today and later in life asked him to provide his famous backbeat on some of the largest and most respected stages and recordings in the world. Kenny has played thousands of live performances to date and has earned the right to wear that royal blues crown. His father, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, played drums for the Muddy Waters’ Band in the early 1960’s and then again from 1968 through 1980 and was featured on all of Muddy’s Grammy winning albums. Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, one of the best known living blues drummers today, learned 99% of what he knows about drumming from his father and was also inspired by acclaimed drummers: Odie Payne, Fred Below, Earl Phillips, Louie Bellson, S.P. Leary, Francis Clay and Art Blakey, Sonny Payne, Clifton James and many others who paved the way. And with those experiences Kenny has revitalized and created new interpretations of the blues drummers as he pushes blues drumming to new innovative and tradition styles.

The Future Is Now PODCAST: Isaiah Spencer
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