Sopro Music’s 27th Annual T-Day Chicago All Star Blues Revue at Tommy’s Place in Blues Island, IL was again another smash hit concert event. On a fairly clear but blustery November Saturday night evening, Blues Fans from all over the Chicago area once again turned out in a club capacity environment to enjoy another great Blues Revue.
With the usual crowd anticipation, Sopro Music’s Blues Revue Band took to the stage with Veteran Blues Guitarist and Vocalist ‘The Tattooed Blues Cowboy’, Joey Drada leading the band into a vintage version of ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’ as the big back beat rhythm section featuring ‘Chicago’s Drum King’, Pat Doody, ‘EADG Bass Master’, Bassist John Falstrom and the newest member of Sopro Music’s Blues Revue Band, ‘South Side Keyboard Man’, Greg Wolfman kicked out their big Blues beat. Then ‘Chicago’s Prodigal Son’, the world travelled Guitarist, ‘GuitarZilla’ Joe Jammer and ‘Chicago’s New Harmonica Master’, Doug Lee joined in with the Sons Of Blues classic ‘Where’s My Money’. Drada’s wailing guitar, teamed up with Jammer’s slamming guitar tones, along with Drada’s echoing vocals, lit up the crowd right from the start. Lee’s harmonica performance again showed why he has become one of Chicago’s finest harmonica players.
Sopro Music Recording Artists Bill McFarland and The Chicago Horns then hit the stage and busted into an outstanding rendition of the classic ‘Peter Gunn Theme’, as ‘Chicago’s Trombone King’ Bill McFarland, ‘The Saxophone Sensation of the Nation’ Hank Ford, ‘The Midwest’s Trumpet Titan’ Kenny Anderson and ‘The South Side’s Favorite Saxophone Son’ Tony Ferraro on Baritone proved why they continue to be the elite Horn Section of Chicago and the Nation.
McFarland and The Chicago Horns then jammed into a moving Blues serenade with their own designed and orchestrated ‘Fire Horns Blues Serenade’. Slashing horn solo’s were in great abundance as Bill, Hank, Kenny and Tony continued setting the tone for the rest of the evening’s show. McFarland closed out the segment with a beautiful version of ‘Every Day I Have The Blues’ as his gilded, silky smooth voice struck a musical chord deep into the souls of everyone in the crowd.
Showtime continued as Sopro Record’s Recording Artist ‘GuitarZilla’ Joe Jammer led the Blues Revue Band into his show segment. Leading off his segment, in dynamic symmetry with the Blues Revue Band, Jammer kicked out his version of ‘Willie The Wimp’ to the delight of the crowd and segued into the great Blues classic of Junior Wells’ ‘Today I Started Loving You Again’ with Vocalist Deb Seitz joining Jammer on stage with her lovely back ground vocals. The Chicago Horns were also in tow, heaving out their blazing Horn’s tones perfectly in harmony with Jammer’s shredding guitar. Jammer continued with the legendary Blues kingpin Otis Rush’s ‘Ain’t Enough Coming In’ and closed out his segment, with Doug Lee joining Jammer on stage with his dynamic Harmonica, performing another Junior Wells’ classic, ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ as the crowd went wild.
The next segment of the show brought ‘Chicago’s Leading Lady Of The Blues’ Deb Seitz, to the stage with her solo project band mates joining her on stage featuring Frank Anastos on Guitar, Dan Wile on Drums and Mike Bailey on Bass. Dressed to the nines with her white brocaded, three quarter length coat, silk scarf and fire red dress topped off with her red, spiked high heeled fashionable shoes, Deb kicked off her segment with ‘Strut’, a seldom heard classic by the great Bluesman, Taj Mahal. Deb’s broke into her second song, ‘Happy Lady’, which was a brand new original Blues song written by her and her band with this being the debut performance of this newly written track. It hit home with the crowd as Deb’s angelic voice cut down deep to the bone like a razor blade of blues deep into the hearts of all in attendance. ‘Part Time Lover’ keep the crowd in rapture and then she shifted gears into one of her jump blues, trademark songs, ‘Blues Is My Business’, that brought the crowd to it’s feet showing Deb their appreciation of her graceful stage presence and vocal talent. Following this jump blues tune, Deb then showed her heartwarming vocal versatility as she cut down deep again belting out the classic ‘Hurt So Bad’. Deb then rocked the crowd out with her closing song of her segment ‘Rock Me Right’ as she definitely rocked the full house crowd right; right down to their Blues bones.
Speaking of the ‘Crowd’; as always, Chicago and Chicago’s South Side Blues Fans were out in full force as this annual Blues Revue show draws Blues Fans from all over the Chicago area as well as throughout the Mid-west which included many, many long time Sopro Music fans, friends and family. A unique sight developed during the show, as usually, there are many photographers, including SoproFoto photographer Gala LaPorte dressed to the nines and looking every part as one of the performers on stage and numerous other Blues Fans, taking photos of all the wonderful performers; but this particular evening there had to be as many professional photographers on hand as there were performers on stage capturing the event on film and digitally with cameras and video cameras. Professional photographers T.J. Johnson and Anthony Caciopo, just to name two, were shooting away along with dozens of other photographers and Blues Fans documenting this one of a kind Blues Revue Concert Event. The camera flashes continued to light up the room throughout the show reminiscent of a Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones or Buddy Guy concert performance. It was a sight to see leaving an indelible memory in everyone’s mind to be remembered for years to come.
Unfortunately, this tremendous event has to have an ending at some time during the evening, but the closing segment of the show is never a disappointment. Taking to the stage in a flash and a flourish, Harmonica man, Vocalist and Blues entertainer Doug Lee continued the tradition of Sopro Music’s Blues Revues with his personalized song ‘Florida Sunshine Blues’ as he vocally talked as well as used his well honed gravely vocal voice to tell this comical Blues story while wailing away with his powerful sounding Harmonica performance. Lee then waltzed into his ‘Walkin’ Blues’ with Tenor Saxophonist, Tony Ferraro joining him on stage. Tony’s touching Sax sounds complimented Lee’s Harmonica tones in true Blues fashion.
Speaking of fashion; Doug and Tony were both decked out wearing their own styled, traditional, Blues fashioned cloths in the grand style of past Blues masters. Lee sporting his trademark black, short brimmed Fedora hat and wearing an Italian, hand made silk shirt and Ferraro was also wearing an original European styled black, hand made silk shirt. Together on stage they not only played the parts of great Blues masters of the past as they presently are, but surely looked the part as well dressed as well as could be.
Before Lee took the Blues Revue Band of Joey Drada, Joe Jammer, Pat Doody, John Falstrom, Tony Ferraro and Greg Wolfman into his next tune, Lee invited a very special guest in the house to the stage. To the delight of the band, Sopro Music promoters and staff, as well as the crowd, Blues Vocalist & Entertainer Vivian Vance Kelly, the talented daughter of Chicago Blues Legend Guitarist and Vocalist, the incomparable Vance Kelly, joined Doug and the band on stage as they kicked into ‘My House Blues’ with Vivian vocally telling the story in conversation and then kicking in with her big sounding vocal dynamics rounding out the tune. The crowd loved her and she was a perfect fit right out the gate with Lee and the Blues Revue Band. And if this wasn’t enough of a grand finale, Deb Seitz returned to the stage to join Vivian in a knock down, drag out version of ‘Let The Good Times Roll’ taking the crowd to new heights and taking the show to another stratospheric place in Blues music. Vivian and Deb’s cacophonous harmonies and the melding of their two angelic voices were gratefully absorbed into the hearts and minds of the well attended audience of Blues aficionados. Deb and Vivian did a call and response vocal attack with each other and then Doug joined in on the call and response with his Harmonica as the three of these dramatic performers continued in tandem to trade vocal and harp licks with each other while Drada, Ferraro and Jammer kicked in with their own solo licks as Doody, Falstrom and Wolfman kept the rhythm section tight and in perfect meter at all times without a flaw in their performance. Wow !! I mean Wow, it was really spectacular. Doug Lee then, finally, got around to closing the show with his finishing song which he has been doing for numerous years now with ‘Help Me’ and with his coercion for cooperation from the crowd to ‘help him’, they did with revelry as they were out of their seats and onto their feets to bring this wonderful Blues Revue Concert Event to a dramatic ending.
As the capacity crowd filtered out of the Tommy’s Place Night Club into the late night Blues Island street on South Western Avenue, now blustery chilly but with clear skies on this special November evening; all in attendance knew they had seen and heard something very special in the annuals of American Blues performances and concert events and were all looking forward to the next Sopro Music Blues Revue.
The flawless concert production, emceeing and stage management was produced and directed by Sopro Music’s Executive Producers Bud Monaco & Red Rose along with Sopro Music’s Associate Executive Producer Bob Teutsch who also did the live recording to document the show along with Sopro Security Chief Butch Marquardt handling the stage and backstage security. The flawless PA and Lighting was operated by the tandem of pro sound men, the father and son duo of Tony Gioiosa Sr. and Tony Gioiosa Jr. throughout the evening. Club production at Tommy’s Place was operated by club owner’s Cindy, Tommy and Patty Petta with Ray Ray Petta covering the night club floor from the front door to backstage with professional operations from start to finish.
See ya’ all next time around. Thank you all for your continued support.