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TRUE BLUE from Ellis Kell
July 1999

If you’re reading this installment on July 4th, in between acts at the 15th Annual Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, then you’re doin’ all right. If not, get your ‘nose out of the news and into the Blues’, and let the good times roll on the riverbank once again in Davenport’s LeClaire Park. However, even if you’re late getting around to True Blue this month, there’s still more than plenty going on around the Quad-Cities music scene…

ITS ALMOST BIX TIME AGAIN!

The 28th Annual Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival kicks into full swing Wednesday evening, July 28, with ‘An Evening with Bix & Friends," at the Capitol Theater, Davenport. Tickets for this pre-fest gala are $10.00 in advance and at door. The festival runs July 29, 30, 31 and August 1, 1999. This year’s line-up of performers includes The Bix Beiderbecke Youth Jazz Band, Bill Allred's Classic Jazz Band (Florida), Beale Street Jazz Band (Tennessee), Draga/Vax Connection with Steve Yocum (Florida, Louisiana & California), High Sierra jazz Band (California), Natural Gas Jazz Band (California), Stan Mark and His Sin Sity Suitz (Nevada), The Toll House Jazz Band (Ohio), New Traditional Jazz Band (Maine) , and The Dixie Ramblers (Illinois). Single admissions are $10.00 each, all-day passes are $18 each, all-event badges are $50.00, and children under age 12 are free when accompanied by an adult. ‘Bix After Glow’ closes out the weekend on Sunday evening, August 1st, 7 - 10 p.m. at the Holiday Inn, Davenport. Tickets for ‘After Glow’ are $7.00 in advance and at door. Executive Director Jim Bowman and the Bix Fest folks have been workin’ hard to bring much more to the festival program, as the event and society move into the new millennium. Hats off and True Blue kudos to all the folks who have worked through the years to make the Bix Fest one of the Quad Cities’ premier music events. For more information on this year’s Bix Fest, visit the society’s web site at www.qconline.com/bix.

‘SESSIONS’ SERVIN’ HOT JAZZ IN THE DISTRICT…

Congrats and True Blue kudos to band mates Tewanta Yerington and Manny Lopez on the opening of ‘Sessions,’ the Quad Cities newest and hottest jazz club. The club is located at the west end of the District, in the former Vera Cruz restaurant building, and features live jazz on Fridays and Saturdays. From Dixieland to big band, modern jazz, and a taste of funk and soul into the wee hours, ‘Sessions’ is the place to be for jazz in the Quad Cities. The relaxed atmosphere and cool, intimate setting for top area jazz acts has all the necessary ingredients for a hot jazz bistro. The club also plans to offer lunch and dinner menu items, a selection fine wines, full cocktail bar, as well as a jazz brunch on Sundays. Hats off and best of luck to Tewanta, Manny and all the gang at ‘Sessions!’

NEW BLUES FROM KIM SIMMONDS & SAVOY BROWN…

Blues/rock veteran Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown are back with hot tracks on "The Blues Keep Me Holding On," their brand-new release on the Mystic Music label. This collection features all-star backing from Nathaniel Peterson on vocals and bass, Tommy Compton (from Johnny Winter) on drums, Dave Maxwell (Freddie King) on piano, Duke Robillard (Roomful of Blues) on guitar, Paul Oscher on harmonica, Leo Lyons (Ten Years After) on bass and Roger Earl (Foghat) on drums. Out of the same legendary 60’s British Blues berth as Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor, Simmonds and Savoy Brown still make it clear, without a doubt, that ‘the blues keep them holding on’ out of the old and into the new millennium. Strong stuff, with one foot firm in the Blues tradition and the other on the new Blues highway - just gotta’ keep on movin’!

LONE-STAR SHOOTOUT: BROOKS - HUNTER - WALKER

True Blues desperadoes Lonnie Brooks, Long John Hunter and Phillip Walker reunite on this new release from Alligator Records, and their aim is sharp and true. The three guitar slingers all started out playing in the 50’s in the same boomtown of Port Arthur, Texas, and are also joined by Port Arthur blues master Ervin Charles. The CD also features hot backing from some of Austin, Texas’ hottest Blues players, including piano tracks from Marcia Ball and the hot brass of Mark ‘Kaz’ Kazanoff. Austin stalwarts Riley Osbourn on keys, Larry Fulcher on bass, and Frosty Smith on drums round out the backing ensemble. This collection is fast, fun, and hotter than a two-dollar pistol!

FRESH FRONT PORCH BLUES FROM JOHN JACKSON…

If there is such a thing as a True Blue statesman, John Jackson is that man. Having been fortunate enough to meet and greet this gentleman on numerous occasions at our own blues festival here in the Quad Cities, I can tell you firsthand that Mr. Jackson is the livin,’ breathin,’ real-deal Blues ambassador. A National Heritage Fellowship winner, John Jackson IS the very East Coast Piedmont Blues he plays and sings - there is no separation between artist and material. From ragtime to folk blues, hillbilly songs and ballads, his rolling playing style and soul-filled vocals transcend time, back the essential roots of the Blues. ‘From Jackson’s rollicking "Railroad Bill" to his mother’s gospel favorite, "The Devil He Wore A Hickory Shoe," this new ‘Front Porch Blues’ CD showcases the tradition of an American Blues classic. The album closes with "Have It Your Own Way," featuring son James Jackson on guitar and vocals - the Blues train, and the tradition, rolls on into the future. Front Porch Blues,’ on the Alligator label, is a must for the collections of the Blues fan and Blues scholar alike.

IT’S O’BLUES FOR YOURS TRULY COME AUGUST…

Shor ‘n its off to Dublin and the true green of Ireland for True Blue come early August, if you’d be wonderin’ what the road ahead holds in store. We’ ll be visitin’ the Dublin Blues scene with Ms. Caroline Brady of the local blues society as our host. From Ireland’s shores across the sea to the Scottish Isles of Mull and Iona, we’ll scour crag and moor like hounds on the hunt for the finest in UK Blues. Until we meet again at this crossroads…

Blues to ‘ya!


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