Chicago Blues Reunion
Calgary Bluesfest (2010)

The Chicago Blues Reunion is an all-star collaboration of Chicago music legends who defined the sound of their generation in the 1960's. The iconic players who comprise CBR are a who's who of blues lover's household names; Barry Goldberg (Hammond B-3 organ), Nick "The Greek" Gravenites (vocals/guitar), Harvey "The Snake" Mandel (guitar), Sam Lay (drums/vocals) and Corky Siegel (harmonica/vocals). In their various earlier musical incarnations, they catalyzed the historic transition in popular music from acoustic folk to electric blues-influenced rock. Over the course of time, they have continued to be an inspiration to younger generations that followed the trail they blazed.

The people involved didn't realize it at the time, but they were laying the groundwork for a revolution. Chicago still ran a for-real blues scene in the early 60's when this handful of young white musicians gravitated to the black South side gin mills where blues existed outside the purview. These young whites were breaking all kinds of barriers simply by playing the music of their heroes that they idolized and had the good fortune of performing and learning from blues legends like Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Little Walter, and Willie Dixon. Individually, each musician went on to bring the blues to the rest of the country and they exploded on the music scene like giants leaving the west coast groups goggle-eyed and breathless. All their paths zigzagged from the major rock palaces like the Fillmore, and festivals like Woodstock, Monterey, and Newport, they ran parallel, then crossed again.

But the spark they struck all those years ago always stayed lit, whatever they did, wherever they went. Chicago was the cauldron that turned the world on events they set in motion. Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Little Walter are all gone. Now Barry, Harvey, Nick, Corky, Sam, and Tracy who once learned lessons at the feet of the blues masters, are now the tribal elders. Now they are the ones with years of experience, stories to tell, and wisdom to impart. These are the musicians on whose shoulders today's blues stands - the traditions are firmly safely in their hands.

Chicago Blues Reunion is one of the last real deals still around. - Joel Selvin Pop Music Critic San Francisco Chronicle May 2005

Chicago Blues Reunion