Corky Siegel is known internationally as one of the worlds great blues harmonica players, blues pianist, singer-songwriter, creator of CHAMBER BLUES and the sole pioneer/composer of award-winning revolutionary works that weave blues and classical forms together. Co-founder of the SIEGEL-SCHWALL BAND, and Blues Hall of Fame Inductee, Corky Siegel has a catalogue of recordings on RCA, Vanguard, Alligator, and million selling blues/classical recordings on the iconic classical label Deutsche Grammophon. His close associations with the blues masters in the earlier days of Chicago blues, his essential part in the blues rock revolution, and his surprising success in bringing together blues and classical audiences make him a pivotal (though inconspicuous) figure in modern music history. “under appreciated national treasure” – DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE.
Estrin was born in San Francisco, California in 1949, and fell in love with blues after his sister presented him with Ray Charles’ The Genius Sings The Blues when he was 12. He began playing harmonica at age 15, and by age 18 was beginning to work professionally. Early in his career he played with Lowell Fulson, Z.Z. Hill, Travis Phillips, and Fillmore Slim. Estrin names Sonny Boy Williamson II, Little Walter Jacobs and Baby Boy Warren as key inspirations. He played with and was mentored by Rodger Collins (whose 45rpm recordings include “She’s Looking Good” and “Foxy Girls” In Oakland). Estrin moved to Chicago when he was 19 and worked with bluesmen Sam Lay, Johnny Littlejohn, Eddie Taylor and Johnny Young. He met and sat in with Muddy Waters at the Sutherland Hotel in Chicago. He told the Sacramento Bee, “Muddy started shaking his finger in my face and said, ‘You outta sight, boy! You play like a man! I know that sound. That’s my sound.’” Muddy tried to hire Estrin as a sideman but Estrin did not receive the phone call, and moved back to the Bay Area. He met guitarist Charlie Baty in 1973 and they created Little Charlie & the Nightcats based in Sacramento, California. Estrin fronted Little Charlie & the Nightcats for 30 years and performed around the world. They were nominated four times for the Blues Music Award for Band of the Year. In 2008, Baty retired from touring. Guitarist Kid Andersen joined Estrin with previous band members Hansen and Farrell and they formed Rick Estrin & The Nightcats that same year.
John Primer is an American Chicago blues and electric blues singer and guitarist who played behind Junior Wells in the house band at Theresa’s Lounge and as a member of the bands of Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters and Magic Slim He recorded with Muddy and the Rolling Stones at Buddy Guy’s Checkerboard Lounge in 1981, a concert that was eventually released as an award-winning DVD, before launching an award-winning career as a front man, carrying forward the traditional Windy City sound into the 21st century.
Jim Pugh’s international performing music career spans 40 years and includes multiple Grammy Award, platinum and gold records. He has recorded and performed with a star-studded array of musicians including B.B. King, Etta James, John Lee Hooker, Robert Cray, Boz Skaggs, Syl Johnson and Van Morrison. He created Little Village Foundation in 2014 to share the diverse music that has always inspired him and to help other artists, especially musicians no one would learn about without Little Village Foundation’s support.
Diunna Greenleaf, the leader of Blue Mercy, is a native Texan (Houston) who has a background steeped in gospel music. Influenced by the likes of Koko Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Rosetta Thorpe, Sam Cooke, Charles Brown and her own parents Ben & Mary Ella Greenleaf (Gospel). She has developed “Diunna’s style of Blues” in the same tradition as so many other great Texas blues men and women. She combines intricate patches of jazz, gospel and heartfelt soul to create a kind blues that takes one on an emotional roller coaster ride.
Jim Pugh’s international performing music career spans 40 years and includes multiple Grammy Award, platinum and gold records. He has recorded and performed with a star-studded array of musicians including B.B. King, Chris Isaac, Etta James, John Lee Hooker, Robert Cray, Boz Skaggs, Syl Johnson and Van Morrison. He created Little Village Foundation in 2014 to share the diverse music that has always inspired him.
Mark Hummel brings together some of the top blues players in history for his Chicago Blues Party at the Backroom in Berkeley California. The supergroup includes:
Mark Hummel – Harmonica/Vocals
Oscar Wilson – Vocals
Joe Beard – Guitar/Vocals
Billy Flynn – Guitar
Wes Starr – Drums
Randy Bermudes – Bass
Big Creek Slim is a blues man as sure as the day is long. Don’t believe it? Hear that voice. Feel the passion and intensity that he brings to the blues. Big Creek Slim’s trademark is authentic pre-WWII country blues and early Chicago Blues. Right now he’s the hottest Scandinavian blues name and has received a rain of awards, and has excited the blues crowds all over Europe.
Big Creek Slim Website
John Németh is an American electric blues and soul harmonicist, singer, and songwriter. He has received five Blues Music Awards for Soul Blues Male Artist, Soul Blues Album, Traditional Blues Album of the Year, Instrumentalist – Vocals and Instrumentalist – Harmonica. He has recorded ten albums since 2002, having also backed Junior Watson, Anson Funderburgh and Elvin Bishop. He has opened for Robert Cray, Keb’ Mo’, and Earl Thomas.
AllMusic noted that he is a “vocalist with great range, ability, and soulfulness, Németh had also developed into a top-notch blues harmonica player…” In 2013 alone, he was nominated five times for a Blues Music Award, making nine such nominations in total.
Jason Ricci has appeared as a guest harmonica player on albums with Johnny Winter, Terence Blanchard, Nick Curran, Ana Popovic, Walter Trout, Cedric Burnside, The Mannish Boys and Joe Louis Walker among others. Ricci was named “Best Harmonica Player” at the 2010 Blues Music Awards, and also performed on Grammy winning 2014 Johnny Winter album Step Back. In February 2015, Ricci played at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Paul Shaffer Band, Tom Morello and Zac Brown to induct The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Ricci also continues touring with his band Jason Ricci and the Bad Kind as well as with other bands such as: “Harmonicon” (Sugar Blue, Billy Branch, Ricci), “JJ Appleton and Jason Ricci” and “Mark Hummel‘s Harmonica Blowout Tour”. In 2017, Jason Ricci and The Bad Kind signed a record deal with the Eller Soul label and released their new album Approved By Snakes released on June 16, 2017.