Excerpt from author, writer, music critic David Whiteis’s profile of MZZ REESE from his book Legacy: Tradition And Innovation in Chicago / Photos by Peter M. Hurley.

     The neighborhood clubs of Chicago’s South and West Sides are no longer the incubators of blues talent that they used to be, but there are still some artists on that circuit who have the potential to break out into wider recognition. One is vocalist Mzz Reese, a sultry-toned alto who cites the late Denise LaSalle as her primary inspiration. Reese’s song “Cookies,” a sexual throwdown in the LaSalle mode (“If you don’t treat my cookies right / I’ll be dippin’ someone else’s milk”) is the title tune of her self-released 2015 debut CD, and it’s already become her signature. 

… She’s a straightforward stylist, preferring nuance and subtlety to pyrotechnics, but—no doubt drawing on her gospel background—she infuses everything she sings with fervor. She has recently assembled a new band, her strongest and most versatile yet, which she has dubbed Reese’s Pieces, and together they’ve already become a semiregular opening attraction at Buddy Guy’s Legends—an encouraging sign for the future.

Check out David Whiteis’s books available from: PRESS.UILLINOIS.EDU
Always The Queen: The Denise LaSalle Story
Blues Legacy: Tradition and Innovation in Chicago
Southern Soul-Blues
Chicago Blues: Portraits and Stories

For more info and contact, Mzz Reese’s Facebook pages are:

Photo taken at Women of R&B rehearsal @ Motor Row Brewing, 2019.

– 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.