April 6, 2018 at 8 pm
John Primer has undisputedly helped build the sound and style of Chicago blues as we know it today. The echoes of tradition bellowing from the birthplaces he played such as: Maxwell Street, Theresa’s, Checkerboard and Rosa’s Lounges, pulse from every chord in his fingers today. John Primer is a Chicago Blues Living Legend.
John’s father died tragically in Mississippi when he was young. When his mother found work in Chicago, John soon followed, bringing the sounds and spirit of Mississippi with him in 1963. He then fell for the music of both the city’s west and south sides. Fronting his first band, The Maintainers, he was asked to join and eventually lead the house band at the world famous Theresa’s Lounge in 1974. Over the next seven years, John would play with such blues originators as: Sammy Lawhorn, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Smokey Smothers, Lonnie Brooks and many others shaping the foundations of the Chicago blues to come.
In 1979, the great songwriter Willie Dixon persuaded him to join his band the Chicago Blues All Stars. John traveled the U.S., Mexico and Europe, trying on hats as a rhythm guitarist, lead slide player and powerful singer. Muddy Waters heard John play and six months later Muddy recruited him not only as his guitar player and bandleader, but also as an opening act. John stayed loyal to Muddy until his death in 1983.
After Muddy’s death, John signed on with the legendary Magic Slim. For the next 14 years, he toured with Magic Slim & the Teardrops as bandleader and guitarist, culminating with the Teardrops being voted repeatedly the number one blues band in the world. This unstoppable blues band invented the “Chicago lump” blues sound we know and love today.
In 1995, John ventured out on his own as a veteran bluesman
and released his solo major label debut, The Real Deal. Since that time he’s released or been recorded on over a dozen albums and toured extensively all over the world. A master storyteller and songwriter, his catalog of songs is endless. Some of the awards attached to him include: 2 Grammy nominations and 2 Living Legend honors as well as a Blues Music Award for Best Traditional Blues Artist from the National Blues Foundation and many more.
Over his amazing career, John has recorded with, opened for or played with a who’s who of other great bands and artists including: The Rolling Stones, Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam, Derek Trucks, Gary Clark Jr., Koko Taylor, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, James Brown and B.B. King.
The depth of history and tradition that runs in John’s blood from decades of master blues classes he took from all the Blues Godfathers builds his music catalog and unique style. John Primer is still at the top of his game. With his strong traditionalist blues phrasing, seasoned rhythm and blues vocals and lightning-fast slide guitar techniques, few artists can match him and none have his vast, real deal, blues history.
Two-time Grammy nominated artist and American blues legend John Primer was the bandleader and guitarist for Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Magic Slim & The Teardrops. Having played or recorded with a who’s who of blues greats including Junior Wells, Gary Clark Jr., Derek Trucks, Johnny Winter, The Rolling Stones and Buddy Guy to name a few, John Primer’s personal accolades, including a Lifetime Achievement Award, reflect his countless contributions to the history of Chicago blues. There are very few fans, critics or musicians who will deny the fact that John Primer is the real deal.
Jamaican born Jimy Graham’s musical journey has brought him full circle. As a boy growing up in New York, he was heavily influenced by the Motown sound and Caribbean beats, and by age 8 he picked up a guitar and started to undergo his experience.
As a teenager, his daily practice was overheard by a neighborhood musician that was working with Wilson Pickett and he encouraged Graham to audition for Pickett’s band. That audition resulted in his first professional job, occupying the same space in Pickett’s band filled earlier by venerated guitar God Jimi Hendrix. Another parallel with the life of Hendrix occurred years later, when Graham portrayed him in the production of “Morrison: A Rock Opera” at the Hollywood Palace.On the west coast, Graham performed and recorded with reggae band Babylon Warriors and opened for UB40 with Pablo Moses.
After an extensive tour to Zimbabwe with Don Carlos, Graham returned to New York, where he was in demand for studio sessions with Peter Tosh, Dennis Brown, Grace Jones and Sly and Robbie. His live performances include an impressive array of artists from every genre imaginable including Chuck Berry, Janet Jackson, and Maxi Priest.
While in Asia, his spectacular performances at Japan’s Budokan with Japan pop icons TRF garnered critical acclaim. His infectious blues/rock/reggae style packed houses during his artist residences at Shanghai’s Piccone Club, Hong Kong’s Rock school, The Roomful of Blues in Singapore and both The Hard Rock Cafe and The Roadhouse in Macau, China. Throughout his stay in Japan, Graham taught at The Tokyo School of Music and ESP Guitar Music Institute.
Inevitably his homesickness for his native Jamaica set in and he returned there to sell out nights at Kingston’s trendy Red Bones Blues Cafe. While working on projects for Kingston based artists like Jack Radics with gold record (Jimmy Cliff) producer, Paul Henton, word got around to the producers of Jamaica’s Jazz and Blues Festival. Graham was invited to perform on the main stage at the 15th Anniversary of the festival in 2011. His performance electrified the crowd with a set that included a medley of the National Anthem of Jamaica with the Star Spangled Banner played with his teeth.