On view in the Jesup Gallery from May 13 to August 8, is an exhibit celebrating the art of the album with a display related to the Chicago Blues. This exhibit features album covers of some of the original blues musicians who made their way to Chicago and changed the face and sound of American music forever. The featured albums are from the collection of Ellen and Mark Naftalin.
The Chicago blues evolved from rural country blues following the Great Migration of African Americans from the southern United States to the industrial cities of the east, north, and west. Musicians joined that migration to escape the brutal Jim Crow laws during the first half of the 20th century. They came to work in the steel mills and for a better life. They brought their music with them to open-air markets and rent parties; eventually making their way to blues clubs on the South and West sides of Chicago. Drums were added to an electric mix which gave way to a new club culture and recording contracts.
Chicago blues was one of the most significant influences on early rock music. Chuck Berry credits Muddy Waters and played with Willie Dixon and others on his early Chess recordings.
Across the Atlantic in the 1960s, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and the Animals brought Chicago blues to a younger audience while at the same time American artists such as the Paul Butterfield Blues Band (which included two members of the Howlin’ Wolf band), John P. Hammond, and Charlie Musselwhite performed in the style of Chicago blues.
Support for this exhibit is provided by The Drew Friedman Community Arts Center