Celebrating B.B. King

Photo of B.B. King playing guitar

Today the world mourns the passing of B.B. King, one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, a legend who brought an entirely new sound to the blues and showed the way for a generation of guitar artists. Known for his signature quavering guitar and short, flowing lyrics, King was regarded as a cross-genre […]

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Lyrics Are Poems Put to Music: Part One

Prompt 6 by miscellaneaarts
 Sorce: Flckr Creative Commons

As Women's History Month winds down and National Poetry Month starts, I thought this would be a good time to look at some important women in music, or more like women in music whose lyrics influence and inspire me. These women paved roads, ruined hearts and broke down walls. Their lyrics and music speak of passion, anger, rage and love. They sang the […]

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Remembering a Blues Legend: Muddy Waters’ “Mojo” at 100

Got My Mojo Working album cover

Nobody knew the blues like Muddy Waters. Although he was born in Mississippi on April 4, 1915, Waters spent a considerable amount of time right here in sweet home Chicago. It’s here that he electrified the blues with his slide guitar skills, making the blues sound like what it is today. He is widely regarded for making Chicago […]

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Mavis Staples: She’ll Take You There

Mavis Staples

On the occasion of the publication of Greg Kot's I'll Take You There, I thought I'd showcase some Mavis Staples' and the Staples Singers' discography here at CPL. But first, the book: Kot is a journalist for the Chicago Tribune, and it shows in his short chapters and succinct writing. While focusing mostly on the […]

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Blue Note Records Turns 75

record, lp, blue note

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of Blue Note Records, one of the most important labels in jazz music. Founded in 1939 by Alfred Lion and Max Margulis, the label is responsible for some of the most important jazz recordings in history, such as Coltrane's Blue train, the only record Coltrane made on […]

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Sounds of Sabor!

Photo of Latin percussion instruments

From samba to cumbia to norteñas to merengue, Latin music is filled with upbeat cadences and robust sounds that tantalize the senses, transporting listeners on an exquisite auditory journey. Here are a few biographies, recordings and movies about and from some of my favorite Latin musicians. Born in Havana, Cuba, Celia Cruz (affectionately known as […]

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David Bowie Is Opens at Museum of Contemporary Art

David Bowie posters on a subway station wall

David Bowie.  Where to even start?  A good friend of mine suggested I start with rampant adulation, as that is what such a great artist deserves. He's a creative chameleon who's gone from glam to funk to all-out rock. On Tuesday, September 23, the exhibit David Bowie Is opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art. […]

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Let’s Go Crazy! Prince’s New Albums Are Here!

No need 2 panic. No need 2 flip … ‘cuz if u love the funky beats of the 80s and the originality of Prince, then you’re probably as thrilled as I am to know that he’s coming out with two new full albums, Art Official Age and Plectrumelectrum, at the end of September. The library already […]

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Elvis Releases First Single

Source: rbglasson, Flickr

On the evening of July 5, 1954, Elvis was in Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, recording some tracks. During a recording break, he began playing around with the tune "That's All Right (Mama)" on his guitar, a song written by blues artist Arthur Crudup. Elvis’ fast version of the song caught the attention of Sun […]

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