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True Blue from Ellis Kell

Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

APRIL 2004

“The Jazz Professor” Bill Bell Comes Home...”

Bill Bell, renowned jazz composer, arranger and pianist returns to the Quad Cities as April’s Artist in Residence for the Mississippi Valley Blues Society. Known far and wide as “The Jazz Professor,” Mr. Bell will conduct jazz and blues workshops at ten regional Quad Cities schools. The East Moline native will also be featured in public performances at the Martin Luther King Center on Monday, April 19 at 4:00 P.M., the Quad-City Arts Center, Friday, April 23 at 7:00 P.M. and the Putnam Museum and IMAX Theatre, Saturday, April 24 at 7:00 P.M. For more information on Bill Bell, one of the Quad Cities’ most notable musical personalities, visit www.mvbs.org on the web.

Clapton Pays Homage to Robert Johnson…

In his new release, “Me and Mr. Johnson,” Eric Clapton comes full circle back to the crossroads, paying tribute to the man he says drove and influenced his musical career. The entire CD is dedicated to Clapton’s fresh interpretations of the Delta Blues King’s blues, including Johnson classics “When You Got a Good Friend,” “Come On In My Kitchen,” “Milkcow’s Calf Blues,” “Stop Breakin’ Down Blues” and “If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day.” Clapton is joined on this CD by Andy Fairweather Low, Billy Preston, Doyle Bramhall II, Jerry Portnoy, Nathan East and Steve Gadd. Johnson’s unique Delta Blues inspired many other contemporary rockers, including The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Clapton is also due to release a new CD of all original work later this year.

Sydney Ellis Delivers Classic Blues on “Tug River”…

True Blue thanks go out this month to Millie Ann Post for providing us with a copy of Sydney Ellis’ newest CD “Tug River.” This sultry and soulful lady delivers renditions of jazz and blues classics like “Spoonful,” “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination,” “Shake Your Money Maker,” “Aint Got Nothin’ But the Blues,” “Baby What You Want Me To Do,” and “Got My Mojo Workin’”. Her professional singing career began back in 1991 in Los Angeles, and she has been touring worldwide since 1995. She is superbly backed by piano, bass, drums, guitar and four-piece horn section. For more information on Sydney Ellis and her recordings, visit www.sydneyellis.com on the web.

Tinsley Ellis Returns “The Hard Way”…

One of contemporary Blues hottest players, Tinsley Ellis will release his newest CD “The Hard Way” on the Telarc label later this month. A longtime favorite in this area, fans of the fiery guitarist and gutsy vocalist will not be disappointed with these new tracks. Tinsley Ellis is without a doubt one of the most versatile and dynamic guitarists on the blues scene today. For more information, visit www.tinsleyellis.com .

Further on up the road…

We recommend all true Blues fans visit www.blueswax.com – where they can register FREE for a weekly Blues e-zine, more blues reviews, interviews and even MP3 samples. Congrats to T-Bone & Co. on a job well done with this web project. There’s always something goin’ on at Blueswax, it’s FREE! On that blue note… peace, love & blessings to all and, until we meet again at this crossroads…

Blues to ‘ya!

Local musician Ellis Kell writes about blues music both local and national in ‘True Blue’, running the first Sunday of each month in Entertainment. He is also on the staff of River Music Experience, a not-for-profit museum and center dedicated to preservation, education and celebration of American Roots music.



trueblue@qconline.com

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