by Peter M. Hurley
FRUTELAND JACKSON is a performer’s performer. Steeped in the knowledge of the history, tradition, feelings and spirit of the Blues, he is a consummate channeler of its greatest practitioners and songwriters (storytellers), past and present. When asked by yours truly to comment on his performing experience, FRUTELAND JACKSON offered this thoughtful reply:
“When I am performing before an audience, and I am in sync with that audience, I have temporarily put my demons to rest, and the aesthetics of performing the blues becomes magical. There is a sense of empowerment that is overwhelming. A feeling that I am not alone, that someone has been where I am going, and that everything is going to be alright.
There is an African Bantu word called “NOMMO,” which means life force or the vital force that carries words from the mouth in water vapor. So what we hear is both water and word. “NOMMO” is the power of the spoken word. “NOMMO” calls on the speaker (or singer) of the word and the listener to be in unity as they affirm each other’s reality. I receive gratification in return as a musician from the audience and consider it the rest of my salary or fee for performing. Musicians seek approval (applause) from people we do not even know in exchange for performance.
When the Blues is used as a benediction convocation, the Blues musician assumes the elder’s role in a performance rite in which the Blues musician invokes the spirit of the Blues and thereby unites all the participants.”
From Fruteland Jackson’s website homepage:
Electro-Fi recording artist FRUTELAND JACKSON is a HistoryMaker (www.thehistorymakers.com). Author, storyteller and oral historian, Fruteland grew up in Chicago. He is a five-time Blues Music Award Nominee and a recipient of the Blues Foundation’s “Keeping the Blues Alive” award. Fruteland performs Americana; acoustic blues, folk traditional and singer-songwriter styles around the world, and has created the award winning *All About the Blues Series- Blues in the School Programs. Working to bring more music education in our schools, his program motto is “Try, Trust, and Triumph”. Mr. Jackson plays acoustic guitar with a focus on pre-war and post-war blues ranging from Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy to Elizabeth Cotton, plus his personal interpretations. His latest CD,” Good as Your Last Dollar” was released in May 2019 and is available directly from Mr. Jackson. He holds two nominations for a 2020 BMA Awards in Memphis in May. Ask Alexa to play his CD.
Photo taken at CHICAGO BLUES NETWORK Trading 4s performance August 20, 2020.
To order Fruteland Jackson’s cds go directly to: www.fruteland.com
– Peter M. Hurley
Mr. Hurley is a contributing photographer and writer for Living Blues Magazine and the staff photographer for Chicago Blues Network. His recent book Blues Legacy: Tradition and Innovation in Chicago, in collaboration with Blues historian and author David Whiteis, showcases his work in the field. His passion for blues music began with the Chess Studios’ sound of Bo Diddley and continues to this day.
Visit Peter’s Website here.