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Chico Hamilton

Jeffrey Andrew Caddick

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Jeffrey Andrew Caddick
P.O. Box 15244
Evansville, IN 47716


People who have most influenced me in my life...

    (1) Jesus...First and foremost, the beginning and the end without whom nothing is possible and with whom everything is possible. The one who showed me to live life as a prayer, sing a song of praise and every once in a while upturn the money changers tables simply because it's the righteous thing to do. Come through Him to the Father and be overwhelmed by the blessing of the life you have been given.... May we never forget that in the sunshine of our lives, through the storm and after the rain, it is all with you in all ways and forever (the Coltrane prayer)...

(2) Chico Hamilton...The person who taught me two of the most important lessons I have learned in my life.
First, what it means to give yourself unreservedly to something. In Chico's case obviously this is music, and every time he walks onto a stage he honestly opens himself up to the audience and gives them everything he has. He is of that rare breed that consistently crosses over the line from playing music to making music. That is a difference in the same way that there is a difference between being alive and living. Chico has taught me to not settle for being alive, but instead to live.
Second, is that when you create a comfortable and supportive space for others, you provide them with the opportunity to discover who they are and then share this with others. With Chico, the obvious evidence of this is all the players who came onto his group as youngsters and who then left his group as mature players. Chico has shown me the remarkable act of humility that is involved in creating a space for others to flourish.

(3) Paul Weller...The person who captured my thoughts at age 16, and put them into words and music. I was truly the "Boy About Town", and probably the singular defining event of my life up to that point was seeing The Jam perform at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago in 1982. This concert taught me the power of live music, and is most likely the reason I am involved in music to this day. Paul, Bruce and Rick performed an amazing hour long show and then left the stage, finally returning for two encores. At this point I was thinking about getting out front to get my "Transglobal Unity Express" program autographed and as the crowd finally gave up on a third encore I sarted making my way up the stairs with the rest of them. Then, a truly amazing thing happened. Everybody stopped, turned around and walked back into the hall, and the cheer went up until The Jam returned for a third encore!!!!

The lesson: live music is capable of uplifting and unifying people to a level that few other things in this life can. I became a young adult listening to The Style Council who unfortunately I never had the opportunity to hear live. In his solo incarnation I have been fortunate to see all his performances in New York City (12/91, 7/92, 11/92, 12/93, 5/94 & 9/97), and have had the lessons which Chico taught me about giving yourself totally to something and crossing the line from performing music to making music reinforced by Mr. Weller's stunning solo performances.

Jeffrey's Paul Weller Live Reviews including: The Jam-Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL 5/26/82; Paul Weller Live in New York City 1991-1994; Paul Weller Live at Crystal Palace, London 1997; Paul Weller Live in North America 1997.

(4) John Coltrane...The one who never stopped seeking, living life like looking in the mirror and constantly cleaning it for a truer and truer reflection, or looking within oneself like the peeling away of the layers of an onion. Another who gave of himself totally to his music and to his audience, and in the process created a body of work simply astonishing in its depth. The lesson is that you must master where you are first to move to the next stage, and you must never stop trying to move to the next level. Now having been taught this lesson, I realize that this is the only task we have been given. It's the only task which our God asks of us... I was fortunate to have the opportunity to delve into Coltrane's music at the same time I undertook to read the Bible cover to cover. And when I think of all those evenings I spent in my apartment on 8th Avenue in New York City listening to "Live at The Village Vanguard", "Coltrane", "Crescent", "A Love Supreme", "Sunship" and many other Coltrane albums while reading Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Mark, John, Revelation and all the other chapters, I am once again humbled to the point of crying tears of joy at the remarkable and unending blessings the Lord has poured out upon my life.

(5) Payable on Death (P.O.D.)- P.O.D. have come to touch me so deeply, and become such an inspiration for me to "brace myself like a man" in these days and time where a real man is "erased for his faith" by our culture (or lack thereof). I couldn't begin to express P.O.D.'s positive and central influence on my life the past six months, but read on with my personal P.O.D. testimony and remember that music of this quality DEMANDS YOUR SUPPORT!!



LUTHER ALLISON - I had been interested in the blues for several years when my interest was put into focus by learning that as a teenager Chico Hamilton giged in Los Angeles with blues giant T-Bone Walker. At this point I started a more studious listening and learning experience, and was fortunate enough to meet Luther Allison when both he and Chico were performing on the festival in Pompeii, Italy in July 1990. At that point I was familiar with Luther in name only and in the intervening period of time I have made it a point to learn about Luther and to collect his recordings. For those not in the know, Luther was born in 1939 in Arkansas, worked in the groups of Sunnyland Slim, Shakey Jake and Johnny Shines, and is one of the seminal Chicago West Side guitarists to emerge in the 60's, along with Magic Sam, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush and Jimmy Dawkins. Luther had a family band called the Rolling Stones seven or eight years before the emergence of the group of the same name from the UK, made his first recordings for Bob Koester's Delmark label on the classic collection "Sweet Home Chicago" from 1967 and his own recording debut "Love Me Moma" in 1969. Luther's career has been typified by a desire to keep the blues true and yet move forward, and he has been much criticized by the blues cognoscenti over the years for this passion to keep the blues up-to- date and allowing other influences to show themselves in his music. Luther gained much acclaim as a fiery guitarist and a soulful vocalist with his performances at the Ann Arbor Blues Festivals 1969-74. After the Delmark recordings Luther was the first blues artist signed by Berry Gordy to the Motown label, and made three albums for Motown which are currently available in compilation form on "The Motown Years 1972-1976". When the break at Motown failed to pan out, Luther turned his attentions toward Europe making his first European appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1976, which lead the following year to a large French tour and the first of Luther's many recording for European labels, the wonderful "Love Me Papa" for Black & Blue in 1977. Luther's first live recordings came in 1979 with two albums for his then hometown Peoria-based Rumble label, "Gonna Be A Live One In Here Tonight" and "Power Wire Blues" and another two albums for the Buda label, "Live in Paris" and "Live(Part 2)", all of which document Luther's status as a legendary live performer and his high energy performances. Luther's acceptance in Europe with many recordings and a heavy touring schedule headlining festivals in Holland, France, Switzerland, Denmark and Germany lead to his moving to Paris in the early-80's. Recordings from this period include "Time" for Buda in 1980, "Life Is A Bitch" for Encore/Melodie in 1984 (retitled "Serious" on the Blind Pig US CD reissue), and "Let's Try It Again" recorded live in Berlin in 1989 for the RUF label. Finally in the past two years, with Luther's reemergence on the US recording scene on two powerful albums for the Alligator label, "Soul Fixin' Man" from 1994 and "Blue Streak" from 1995, and with a heavy touring schedule including most of the major US blues festivals, Luther is gaining the critical and public acclaim long due him. Luther Allison's career is that of one who has Kept the Faith to himself and his music, and in addition to being a great artist Luther Allison is a warm and big hearted human being. Go buy his albums, and for goodness sake catch one of his live shows!!!! You're missing something if you don't...

Update: Sadly Luther Allison passed away suddenly in August of 1997 from cancer. I had been supposed to catch Luther's live shows in Indianapolis, IN and Bloomington, IN a few months before in May, and I ended up not going because of my work load. I could kick myself for that now and it really reminds me of my priorities, as it would have been my last opportunity to see Luther before he passed. That is something which I well never let happen again. For a document of what PROFOUND Live Performer Luther was check out the recently released "Live In Chicago" on the Alligator label.Aside from all the wonderful music Luther left behind, Luther also left behind a son named Bernard who I peg as one of the younger blues musicians who will truly cary the music into the 21st Century (along with Lucky Peterson and Chris Thomas King) If you haven't yet heard Bernard, by all means check out his 1997 album "Keepin' the Blues Alive" and the 1998 album "Times ARE Changing" both of which boogie, rock and soar every bit as much as Luther's music. Listen and hear!!


ALLEN TOUSSAINT - It is only in the past year or so that I have really become aware of Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas, but their stature as New Orleans living musical legends is fitting for both Toussaint and Thomas. Toussaint, born in New Orleans in 1938, began playing the piano at age seven and was influenced by Professor Longhair, the fountainhead of New Orleans piano. At age 16 Toussaint formed a high school band with Snooks Eaglin dubbed the Flamingos and after dropping out of school moved into session work backing up and arranging for Fats Domino. Toussaint first recorded as a solo artist on the album "The Wild Sounds Of New Orleans" (1958), showcasing his funky piano work. At age 22 Toussaint took over as producer for the Minit label, producing, arranging, composing and adding his infectious funky rolling keyboards to hits by Irma Thomas, Jessie Hill, Ernie K-Doe and Benny Spellman. The relationship with Irma Thomas was particularly important for Toussaint, producing hits such as "It's Raining", "Cry On", and "Ruler Of My Heart" (which was turned into "Pain In My Heart" by Otis Redding). Toussaint later produced for Instant and Fire/Fury labels and started working with Lee Dorsey with whom he had a long and successful relationship producing many classic recordings. Toussaint opened his own studio Sea-Saint in 1972, and almost single handedly created the modern New Orleans sound working again with Lee Dorsey and other homegrown artists such as The Meters (Sea-Saint's house band), the Neville Brothers, Mac Rebennack (Dr. John), the Wild Tchoupitoulas, as well as with out-of-town stars making the pilgrimage to Sea-Saint for that magic Toussaint touch, including Patti Labelle, Paul McCartney, Robert Palmer, Joe Cocker, the Band, and Paul Simon. With his solo album "From A Whisper To A Scream" (1970), Toussaint began recording more frequently as a solo artist on albums "Toussaint" (1971), "Life, Love and Faith" (1972), "Southern Nights" (1975), "Motion" (1978), and his first new solo recording in 15 years, the newly released "Connected" (1996). This new recording is part of Toussaint's newest venture, the NYNO (New York, New Orleans) label which he started to record New Orleans music. Allen Toussaint's career is that of one who has Kept the Faith to himself and his music and Toussaint's behind the scenes work belies his importance and influence upon New Orleans and Southern Soul music. You should make every effort to locate his recordings and perhaps even catch one of his performances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, where Toussaint is a regular...

IRMA THOMAS - As previously mentioned with Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas's stature is that of a New Orleans living musical legend where she is a fixture of the music scene- the Soul Queen of New Orleans! Born in 1941 in Louisiana, Thomas sang with her mother in the Marathon Baptist Church Choir, was influenced by the great R & B and Soul diva Etta James, and had her first R & B hit on the Ron label with "You Can Have My Husband, But Please Don't Mess With My Man" in 1960. After another record for Ron, Thomas began recording for Minit and began her collaboration and friendship with Allen Toussaint, a relationship which would be responsible for helping to create the modern New Orleans R & B sound and which would last three decades. With Toussaint at the helm producing, arranging, composing and performing on piano, Thomas turned out such classics as "Cry On", "It's Too Soon To Know", "Gone", "It's Raining", "Two Winters Long" and "Ruler Of My Heart". In 1961, Thomas moved to the Imperial label, recording some of her most well known hits "Time Is On My Side", "Wish Someone Would Care", "(I Want A) True, True Love", "Take A Look", "Wait, Wait, Wait", and "What Are You Trying To Do". Thomas relentlessly toured the South with her backing band the Tornadoes, and kept herself clean of the pitfalls to which other Soul divas have succumbed, staying away from drugs and even refraining from smoking. Though Thomas' recordings were regional hits, the lack of a national hit lead Imperial to drop her, and she signed to the Chess label in 1967. Chess sent Thomas down to Muscle Shoals to record, and two singles were released, but their lack of success lead Chess to cancel plans for an album. Fortunately, time has made up for this travesty with the CD release of "Something Good- The Muscle Shoals Sessions", a true classic. With her record business difficulties in mind, in 1970 Thomas moved to Los Angles to improve her prospects as a singer but ended up working in a Montgomery Ward. During this six year period Thomas made a few trips back to New Orleans in 1972 and 1974, putting together wildly successful engagements at the New Orleans Marriot Hotel, and Thomas finally moved back in 1975. In the 70's, with performances first during her absence in 1974, and then after her move back in 1976, Thomas became a fixture and highlight of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Back in New Orleans, Thomas made several albums including "Hip Shakin' Mama" a live recording of her 1976 performance at the Festival, the studio recordings "Soul Queen of New Orleans" (1977) and "Safe With Me" (1979), and another live recording "Live at the Kingfish Lounge" (1979). Though working steadily in New Orleans with her backup band the Professionals, Thomas went from 1979 to 1986 without making a recording, a situation which was thankfully rectified by the fine folks at the Rounder label with a series of albums including, "The New Rules" (1986), "The Way I Feel" (1988), "Live: Simply the Best" (1991), and "True Believer" (1992). One of the highlights of Thomas' recorded output is "Walk Around Heaven" (1994), her first all gospel recording. Irma Thomas' career is that of one who has Kept the Faith to herself and her music and you should make every effort to locate Thomas' recordings and perhaps even catch one of her performances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, where Thomas is a regular. You can also catch Thomas performing with the Professionals at the Lion's Den, a neighborhood bar near the French Quarter, where in addition to her singing you might be treated to Thomas acting as owner, hostess and sometimes even cooking up and serving the red beans and rice!!!!


FONTELLA BASS - Both Fontella Bass and Cissy Houston have similar career stories and leave a similar favorable impression on me. I was not aware of Fontella Bass until I really started researching the R & B and Soul scenes more in depth. Born in 1940 in St. Louis, Bass is the daughter of Martha Bass, one of the singers from the renowned gospel act the Clara Ward Singers who herself went on to become a major gospel star. Bass started out her singing career singing in the gospel tradition of her mother and playing the piano, but later was exposed to the blues going down in the East St. Louis clubs In the early-60's. Bass was taken aboard the Little Milton band as pianist and later became featured female vocalist, and through this exposure was signed in 1964 to Leonard Chess' Checker label where she spent three years cutting many classic soul recordings. These included her own composition "Rescue Me" which stayed in the #1 slot for four weeks on the Billboard R & B chart in 1965, and is one of the Soul classics of the 60's, and several duets with Bobby McClure: "Don't Mess Up A Good Thing", "You're Gonna Miss Me", "Baby What You Want Me To Do" and "Don't Jump". Other recordings from this period include "You'll Never Know", "The Soul Of A Man", "Since I Fell For You", "Oh No Not My Baby" , "Sweet Lovin Daddy" and "Joy Of Love". The Chess compilation "Rescued- The Best of Fontella Bass" brings together all of these essential Soul classics as well as other recordings from her years at Chess/Checker. Bass married her musical director Lester Bowie in 1966, and after leaving Chess the two moved to Paris driven by their disenchantment with the music industry in the US. During this period Bass performed and recorded primarily with the Art Ensemble. Bass returned to the States in 1972, recording briefly for the Paula label and then signed to Epic in 1973 who recorded one album with Bass which also featured Cissy Houston on background vocals which criminally, Epic never released. Since then Bass has devoted her life to raising her four children and returning to her first love gospel, forming the group "The Root to the Source" with her mother Martha and brother David Peaston which recorded for the Black Saint label in 1981 an album of the same name. The three also recorded in 1990 for the Selah label the critically acclaimed "Promises: A Family Portrait of Faith". During 1991 and 1992, Bass toured played piano and singing with the gospel/blues revue "Juke Joints and Jubilee" on an extensive college tour. Bass' most recent release recorded for the Nonesuch label in 1995 is the wonderful "No Ways Tired", a collection of hymns, standards, and pop covers merged together into one beautiful pop, soul, R & B and gospel gumbo. Fontella Bass' career is that of one who has Kept the Faith to herself, her family, her God and her music. Go buy her albums, in particular the recent "No Ways Tired", a testament to artistic persistence and success...

CISSY HOUSTON - I am almost afraid to mention this because of my general distaste for television, but I believe the first time I became aware of Cissy Houston was when Cissy was a guest on the Oprah Winfrey show, and I realized that this woman was a wonderful singer who could sing her daughter under a table in the drop of a hat. Houston was born in 1932 in Newark, NJ, and given the way the pop industry and the press work nowadays one might be forgiven for thinking the main family connection of Cissy Houston is with daughter Whitney. Quite the contrary is true however, and Houston's career began in her family's gospel group The Drinkard Singers which included Judy Clay (known for soul waxings of her own and duets with William Bell), and Lee Warwick (Cissy's sister and mother of Dionne and Dee Dee, Cissy's nieces). The Drinkards big moment came with an opening slot at Carnegie Hall for gospel legend Mahalia Jackson and in 1958 recorded for the RCA label a live recording "Joyful Noise", the first gospel recording ever made for a major label. Cissy started moving towards the pop music realm singing background vocals on the New York session scene, along with nieces Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick. Cissy and various family and friends lineups sang on many R & B classics emerging from NYC studios between 1964 and 1967 for artists such as Garnett Mimms, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Brook Benton, Maxine Brown, The Drifters, Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke, Ester Phillips and Dionne Warwick. Cissy along with Sylvia Shemwell (sister of Judy Clay), Estelle Brown, and Myrna Smith became the house backing vocal group for the Atlantic label, and in 1967 were signed by Jerry Wexler recording as The Sweet Inspirations. The Inspirations recorded three albums for Atlantic which are sampled on the wonderful compilation on the Ichiban label "The Best of The Sweet Inspirations". Another gospel recording for Atlantic was released as Cissy Drinkard & The Sweet Inspirations "Songs of Faith & Inspiration". In 1969, Houston left The Inspirations to pursue a solo career when The Inspirations' manager, Cissy's husband John Houston, helped Cissy get signed to the Commonwealth United label who sold her contract to Janus after Commonwealth's demise. Cissy's stay with Janus dropped many Soul classics such as the original version of "Midnight Train to Georgia", and are collected on the wonderful compilation on the Ichiban label "Midnight Train to Georgia- The Janus Years". Houston spent the mid to late-70's focusing on her family, raising her daughter, and her church where she is the Minister of Music (New Hope Baptist Church in Newark). In 1992, Houston recorded a duet album "I'll Take Good Care of You" with Soul veteran Chuck Jackson for the Shanachie label, and is back on her own in 1996 on the House of Blues label with a glorious gospel album "Face To Face". Like Bass' recent outing, Houston's latest is a collection of hymns, standards, and pop covers merged together into one beautiful pop, blues, soul, R & B and gospel gumbo. So when it comes to Houston's, forget Whitney and go with mother Cissy. A woman with a career of one who has Kept the Faith to herself, her family, her God and her music. Go buy her albums- the Ichiban compilations of The Sweet Inspirations and Houston's Janus years are highly recommended and in particular the recent "Face To Face", a testament to artistic persistence and success...


LESTER BOWIE - I was fortunate enough to meet Lester Bowie for the first time when both he and Chico were performing on the festival in Verona, Italy in June, 1989. Though history will remember Lester primarily as the trumpet player in the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Lester's inclusion in this section has to do with the importance of his work as a solo artist. Imbibing his music with humor and his playing with a smearing and growling dark sound, Lester has steadfastly refused to limit his own solo career to that of a traditional jazz artist, instead choosing to reflect all his influences and interests from the church and gospel music, to funk and James Brown, to Lady Day and Cootie Williams, to the blues and organ trios, to the Platters and tv themes, to Bob Marley's reggae and avant garde freedom of expression. One of the few jazz instrumentalists currently on the scene to have an identity strong enough to transcend the arena of jazz and retain his voice in formats as varied as his own Brass Fantasy group, to blowing over a Skatalites ska groove, to blowing over a Digable Planets hip hop groove. Born in 1941 in Maryland, Lester moved to St. Louis and was a founding member of the Black Artists Group, became musical director and later married Soul Diva Fontella Bass, and moved on to Chicago to be a founding member of the AACM and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Lester's solo albums include the free and gospel influenced "The Fifth Power" (1978) with a quintet including Arthur Blythe and Amina Claudine Myers; the seminal album "The Great Pretender" (1981) with its classic treatment of the Platter's title song; the two-disc set "All the Magic" (1982) featuring his From the Root to the Source group with Fontella Bass, Martha Bass and David Peaston and an entire disc of solo trumpet pieces; Lester's Brass Fantasy group has become the premiere and perhaps the only relevant repertory group on the current scene and has recorded extensively on "I Only Have Eyes For You" (1985), "Avant Pop" (1986), "Serious Fun" (1989), "My Way" (1990), and the live "The Fire This Time" (1992); also fine recordings with his New York Organ Ensemble on "The Organizer" and "Funky T, Cool T" (both 1991) which reunites Lester with Amina Claudine Myers on organ, Steve Turre from the Brass Fantasy group, Don Moye from the Art Ensemble of Chicago, the late Phillip Wilson, and introduces the young James Carter. Lester Bowie's career is that of one who has Kept the Faith to himself and his music- an eclectic purveyor of great black music, past, present and future, and also a warm big hearted human being. Go buy his albums, and expand your definition of jazz!!!!

Credit - the above profiles were written with the assistance of the Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music, the AMG- All Music Guide, articles on Luther Allison, Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas from Living Blues magazine, and countless album liner notes.

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