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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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. […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

Soundtrack for the Puerto Rican Day Parade

Chicago PR Flag

For me, June means beautiful weather, weddings and the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Since 1981, this ethnic parade celebrates the culture of the Puerto Rican diaspora that chose Chicago as their home, my family included. Nowadays the parade marches down Paseo Boricua, which is located on Division Street between the huge steel flags on Western Avenue and […]

Read More

Music To Run By

As someone who can't bring themselves to run unless a zombie from World War Z is chasing, I obviously need a little motivation. Like many of my fellow joggers on the lakefront, I like to plug in the earbuds and drift into my own personalized music video. Fortunately the library has thousands of CDs and downloadable music  available. It's a […]

Read More

The Pixies’ Doolittle Turns 25

The Pixies' sophomore album, Doolittle, released on April 18, 1989, turns 25 this week. I stumbled upon this information recently and my first thought was, "I'm really old,” but then I was transported back to high school, a time when I must have played the album hundreds of times. Music has an amazing ability to induce […]

Read More