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Local and State News

Benefit Concert for Mother Teresa House with Mike Daniels Trio and Elden Kelly
mike daniels trio
Mike Daniels Trio: Mike Daniels, drums, vocals; Dale Kingbe, bass; Bill Bastian, piano/keys.
freddie cunningham ginny andersen
Freddie Cunningham of Root Doctor Fame Ginny Andersen
elden kelly
Elden Kelly: Guitarist, composer and singer Elden Kelly has captivated audiences across the country with his masterful writing and improvisational ability. His music thrives at the nexus of jazz, classical and world music, combining a deep knowledge of music with astounding and engaging performances.

Mother Teresa House is an institution designated as a care home for terminally ill people. Its location is in downtown Lansing, Michigan. Mother Teresa House is open to all people of any faith, culture or background providing loving, personal care around the clock to those who value and find reverence for life and end of life.
Founded at the time of Mother Teresa’s death in September 1997, Mother Teresa House strives to serve in the same manner as she did. The care is provided at no charge to our guest.

The 2019 St Louis Blues Festival WILL NOT Take Place in 2019

After long consideration of other events being held and affecting attendance in 2018, it has been decided to cancel this festival for a year to evaluate and look at other options of date, location and most importantly value of this event.
The festival organizers send out a huge thank you to all of our sponsors that have made this a reality, year after year. We have tried to bring in quality musical talent and I believe we have been successful in that regard.
The festival has been fully supported by the City of St Louis, we thank you for your partnership during the last 12 years.
This event requires a lot of of hard work, (nothing we are afraid of), and wouldn't have been possible without our friends and volunteers stepping up big to pitch in, that is a debt that can not be repaid.
We would also like to thank the media sources that have helped to advertise and get the word out to the public.
The festival organizers at the Gem Theater thanks everyone for your support and will continue in our best efforts of "Keeping The Blues Alive"

National News and Beyond

Blues Hall of Fame Recipient Dr. John Passes at Age 77

Dr. John, the “night tripper,” ( November 12, 1941 -  June 6, 2019) emerged as one of the most colorful characters from the psychedelic 1960s.  The mastermind behind the 1968 album Gris Gris was born in New Orleans  as Malcolm John ‘Mac’ Rebennack, Jr.  Dr. John, until that point, had spent his recording career mostly as a sideman in New Orleans and Los Angeles. When the mist cleared, the world began to recognize Dr. John as a New Orleans rhythm & blues icon, carrying on the traditions of Crescent City legends like Professor Longhair, Smiley Lewis, and Huey ‘Piano’ Smith. He performed a lively, theatrical stage show inspired by medicine shows, Mardi Gras costumes and voodoo ceremonies.

Dr. John eventually  settled in Los Angeles becoming a "first call" session musician in the Los Angeles studio scene in the 1960s and 1970s. He was part of the so-called "Wrecking Crew" stable of studio musicians. He provided backing for Sonny & Cher (and some of the incidental music for Cher's first film, Chastity), for Canned Heat on their albums Living the Blues (1968) and Future Blues (1970), and for Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention on Freak Out! (1966). Dr. John recorded more than 20 albums and in 1973 produced a top-10 hit, "Right Place, Wrong Time".

He recorded more than 30 albums on his own while also playing piano or organ on sessions by blues, rock, soul, and jazz performers such as B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, Luther Allison, Big Joe Turner, Johnny Copeland, Mike Bloomfield, Duke Robillard, Tab Benoit, Johnny Adams, Charles Brown, James Cotton, Johnny Winter, Ringo Starr, Bill Wyman, Aretha Franklin, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. In recent years he was a frequent guest-star on the New Orleans-set HBO drama Treme.

The winner of six Grammy Awards, Rebennack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by singer John Legend in March 2011. In May 2013, Rebennack received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Tulane University. On June 6, 2019, Dr. John died of a heart attack. His family announced through his publicist that he died at break of day, and ""He created a unique blend of music which carried his home town, New Orleans, at its heart, as it was always in his heart.”

João Gilberto, Master of Bossa Nova, Dies At 88

João Gilberto, one of the principal architects of the Brazilian musical style bossa nova, has died at his home in Rio de Janeiro, at 88 years following an undisclosed illness.

João Gilberto is credited some with writing the first bossa nova, or new beat drawing on Brazil's African-influenced samba tradition without the usual battery of drums and rhythm instruments. Gilberto's intimate and nuanced style of guitar playing and singing, eventually central to the bossa nova sound, were reportedly developed in 1955 when he sequestered himself inside of a bathroom at his sister's house to take advantage of the acoustics provided by the bathroom tiles.

In the mid-1950s, Brazil was in the midst of a post-WWII modernization inspired by a new president who wished to move the country out of third world economic status. Gilberto's "Bim-Bom," often named as the first bossa nova song, came from that period, and soon thereafter, the style began to sweep Rio's cafes and bars. Bossa nova's sophisticated sound became popular with a new moneyed class eager to move away from the more traditional samba sound of explosive drums and group singing.
The breakthrough came just before the end of the decade. In 1958 Jobim and de Moraes had collaborated on a recording of the song "Chege de Saudade" by another vocalist, but the song didn't become a phenomenon until Gilberto's version became a hit in Rio and internationally, and launched the bossa nova movement

Over three years Gilberto recorded three albums that were the blueprints for a musical revolution: Chega de Saudade (Odeon, 1959), O Amor, o Sorriso e a Flor (Odeon, 1960), and João Gilberto (Odeon, 1961).

In 1961 the U.S. State Department had organized one of its goodwill musical ambassador tours to Rio and jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd caught some of the music and took the style back home, where he shared it with jazz saxophonist Stan Getz. Their 1962 album Jazz Samba was an immediate success in the US. The next year, Getz invited Gilberto to record together. The resulting album, Getz/Gilberto, featured compositions by the Jobim/de Moraes writing team, many of which became jazz standards over the decades, including "Corcovado," "Desafinado" and "Doralice."

The album's breakout hit featured Gilberto's then-wife Astrud on a sultry vocal of the song "Garota de Ipanema (Girl From Ipanema)." João sang the lyrics in Portuguese, Astrud repeated them in English and Getz added a now-iconic tenor sax solo. It was a worldwide hit and won the 1965 Grammy for record of the year. Getz/Gilberto won album of the year and would go on to become one of the highest-selling jazz albums of all time, helping to cement bossa nova's soft, lulling beats and intimate vocals across the global musical landscape.
In the mid-1960s, less than a decade after the movement started, the music was pretty much silenced by a military dictatorship that clamped down an all outside political and cultural influences. Gilberto, who had moved to the United States, remained until 1980. Upon his return to Brazil he was heralded for his contributions and recorded with many of the younger musicians who had been part of the Tropicalia movement that incorporated rock and psychedelia into the subversive music aimed at the dictatorship.

Gilberto continued to perform well into the 21st century and has been recognized by every generation since his debut as a Brazilian musical pioneer. Well known to be a recluse, he spent the last years of his life alone in his apartment in Rio, trying to sort out various legal problems that had accumulated over the course of his storied career, while still holding a place of highest honor in his country's cultural legacy.

New Orleans legend Art Neville, founder of the Meters and Neville Brothers, dies at 81

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville was the keyboardist, singer and founding member of the Meters and the Neville Brothers.  In addition he  was the voice of the enduring Carnival season anthem “Mardi Gras Mambo.”

Neville died Monday July 22, 2019 after years of declining health at age 81.

Arthur Lanon Neville was born on December 17, 1937, the same day as New Orleans piano legend James Booker. As a boy, he lived  on Valence Street and  was drawn to the Orioles, the Drifters and other doo-wop groups, as well as Professor Longhair and Fats Domino.

He was barely 17 when, in 1954, he sang lead on the Hawketts’ remake of a country song called “Mardi Gras Mambo.” Little did they know that, more than 60 years later, the song would still be a Carnival staple.

By the mid-1960s, he anchored a band called Art Neville & the Neville Sounds. The Neville Sounds featured several younger musicians from the local scene, including bassist George Porter Jr., guitarist Leo Nocentelli, drummer Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste and saxophonist Gary Brown.

By 1968, they'd been rechristened the Meters and were releasing singles of their own, including the instrumentals "Sophisticated Cissy" and "Cissy Strut"  forging a forged a template for much New Orleans music that would follow.
In the 1970s, the Meters recorded songs destined to be New Orleans standards, including "Hey Pocky A-Way," "Fire on the Bayou," "People Say" and "Africa." By the late 1970s, the Meters had splintered, frustrated by their lack of commercial success and bedeviled by personal conflicts and substance abuse.

He and his three younger brothers backed their uncle, Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief George “Jolly” Landry, on a 1976 album called “The Wild Tchoupitoulas.” By the following year, brothers Art, Charles Aaron and Cyril had resolved to move forward as their own band, dubbed the Neville Brothers.

The Neville Brothers released their final studio album in 2004. The band's last concert was at the Hollywood Bowl in 2012; they later reunited to perform several songs at the "Nevilles Forever" tribute show at the Saenger Theatre during the 2015 Jazz Fest.

Even as the Neville Brothers still toured the world, Art Neville lent his voice and keyboard to other projects. The most enduring proved to be the Funky Meters, featuring Porter and guitarist Brian Stoltz.

In July 2018, the Meters received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy during a ceremony in Los Angeles. Neville did not attend; his son, Ian Neville, represented him.

Art Neville is survived by his wife Lorraine and  three children, Arthel, Ian, and Amelia.