“It angers me how scholars associate the blues strictly with tragedy.” ― B.B. King
August 18, 2021 Volume 2, Issue 36
Chicago Blues Network Faculty in Action Billy Flynn and More Chicago Blues Masters
Billy Flynn, Chicago Blues Network Guitar Instructor
Just yesterday, Billy Flynn, Grammy award winning Chicago Blues guitar master and Chicago Blues Network Instructor, performed in Chicago at Colvin House on Sheridan Ave. Three of our At Home Chicago Blues students were in attendance with their spouses, making this a great chance to enjoy summer weather and see Instructors perform LIVE! Thanks Billy Flynn!
To take lessons with Billy Flynn and more Chicago Blues Masters, sign up here.
Billy Flynn Teaches “Just A Little Bit”
In this video, Billy Flynn takes you through the basics of “Just A Little Bit,” a Roscoe Gordon tune made famous by Magic Slim, in the key of G. Get all Billy’s lessons, and weekly Zoom sessions with Billy to go over these riffs and rhythms, by signing up for lessons “At Home Chicago Blues”. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Live Shows in the Chicago Area Featuring Chicago Blues Network Instructors
See our Instructors for yourself at these live shows below. If you’re bitten by the Blues bug, then look no further. At Home Chicago Blues lessons allow you access to 40+ video lessons plus weekly LIVE Zoom meetings with Instructors including Dave Specter, Billy Flynn, Joanna Connor, Johnny Burgin, Brother John Kattke and Harlan Terson.
From SUGAR BLUE’S bio on his website: Grammy Award-winning harmonica virtuoso Sugar Blue is not your typical bluesman…
Born James Whiting – he was raised in Harlem, New York, where his mother was a singer and dancer at the fabled Apollo Theatre. He spent his childhood among the musicians and show people who knew his mother, including the great Billie Holiday, and decided that he wanted to be a performer.
Blue received his first harmonica from his aunt, and proceeded to hone his chops by wailing along with Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder songs on the radio, he was soon to be influenced by the jazz greats such as Dexter Gordon and Lester Young.
Sugar Blue has used this background to his advantage, creating an ultra-modern blues style and sound that is instantly recognizable as his own.
Blue began his career as a street musician and made his first recordings in 1975 with legendary blues figures Brownie McGhee and Roosevelt Sykes. The following year, he contributed to recordings by Victoria Spivey and Johnny Shines before pulling up stakes and moving to Paris on the advice of pioneer blues pianist Memphis Slim.
While in France, Blue hooked up with members of the Rolling Stones, who instantly fell in love with his sound. The Stones invited Blue to join them in the studio. Besides his work on the Some Girls album, he can be heard on Emotional Rescue and Tattoo You. He appeared live with the group on numerous occasions and was offered the session spot indefinitely, but he turned it down, opting instead to return to the States and put his own band together rather than became a full-time sideman. Before returning to the U.S. in 1982, Blue cut a pair of albums, Crossroads and From Paris to Chicago.
Blue’s decision to return home, despite his growing renown as a session player was spurred by his desire to work with and learn from the masters of blues harmonica. Thus he came to Chicago and proceeded to sit in with the likes of Big Walter Horton, Carey Bell, James Cotton and Junior Wells. Blue went on to spend two years touring with his friend and mentor Willie Dixon as part of the Chicago Blues All Stars before putting his own band together in 1983. With his own band, Blue’s star continued to rise. He received the 1985 Grammy Award for his work on the Atlantic album, Blues Explosion, recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
He recorded on Dixon’s Grammy-winning Hidden Charms album in 1989, has performed on festival stages with classic artists like Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Art Blakey and Lionel Hampton and has also set his sights on television and the big screen. He sat in with Fats Domino, Ray Charles, and Jerry Lee Lewis for the Cinemax special, Fats Domino and Friends, and has appeared on screen and in the musical score of Alan Parker’s acclaimed 1987 thriller Angel Heart, starring Robert De Niro.
Blue has played and recorded with musicians ranging from Willie Dixon to Stan Getz to Frank Zappa to Johnny Shines to Bob Dylan, he is perhaps best known for his signature riff and solo on the Rolling Stones’ hit Miss You from their Some Girls album. Blue performs his own version of the song on his 1993 Alligator debut BLUE BLAZES. With his second release IN YOUR EYES Sugar Blue emerges as a singularly profound songwriter as well as a harmonica wizard.
He has appeared across America, Europe and Africa at many prestigious venues and festivals – Chicago, Montreuz Jazz, Antibes, Nice, Cannes, Montreal, Pistoia, Bern, Rapperswil, Blue Note, Lincoln Jazz Center… Blue continues to appear in clubs and festivals around the world.
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 a 6th grade dance party discovery of Bo Diddley which led to Little Walter, muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and so on. It continues to this day. Visit Peter’s Website here.
Looking Ahead… Chicago Blues in the Spotlight in FREE Outdoor Concert
Saturday, September 18th 5:30 – 8:30 PM
Chicago In Tune — Blues
Free Concert at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in downtown Chicago
“A celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Alligator Records with Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling, Cash Box Kings with special guests, Shemekia Copeland, Billy Branch and Wayne Baker Brooks.” – Chicago.gov
In place of the annual Chicago Blues Festival, there will be four dedicated nights honoring music born and innovated in Chicago, presented by the Millennium Park Foundation. Dates and times for the four concerts:
Gospel: Friday, September 3, 5:30–8:30pm Jazz: Saturday, September 4, 5:30–8:30pm House: Saturday, September 11, 5:30–8:30pm Blues: Saturday, September 18, 5:30–8:30pm
Learning Blues Helps the Community…. 20% of proceeds from “At Home Chicago Blues” lessons goes to The Firehouse Community Arts Center in Chicago, as well as to the Blues Foundation’s HART Fund for direct medical support of Blues Musicians.
The Firehouse Community Arts Center has served as a safe haven for young people in the Chicago area for over a decade and has been coordinating various events and art programs dedicated to preventing and interrupting youth and young adults caught in violence.
The organization’s founder Pastor Phil Jackson has shared stories that uplift and inspire as a special guest on Chicago Blues Network Trading 4s shows. Watch Trading 4s Concerts here.
Chicago Blues Network Trading 4s Concert
Featuring John Primer, Joanna Connor, Dave Specter, and Harlan Terson