Sugar Blue

Grammy Award-winning harmonica virtuoso Sugar Blue was not your average bluesman… He was born James Whiting in Harlem, New York. His mother, a singer and dancer at Apollo Theatre, was his mother. Blue grew up among musicians and show-people who knew his mother, including Billie Holiday. He decided that he wanted a career as a performer. Blue was given his first harmonica by his aunt. He began to learn by singing along to Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder songs. Soon, he would be influenced greatly by jazz legends like Lester Young and Dexter Gordon. Sugar Blue has made this a benefit, using his background to create a modern blues sound and style that is immediately recognizable as his. Blue started his career as a street musician, and made his first recordings with the legendary blues musicians Brownie McGhee (75) He recorded recordings with Johnny Shines and Victoria Spivey the following year. After Memphis Slim’s advice, Blue decided to move to Paris. Blue met members of the Rolling Stones while in France and fell in love instantly with their music. Blue was invited by the Stones to join them at the studio. He can also be heard on Emotional Rescue or Tattoo You, in addition to his work on the Some Girls Album. Blue appeared with the group live on many occasions. He was offered the spot indefinitely but turned it down and returned to the States to form his own band rather than being a part-time sideman. Blue recorded two albums before he returned to the U.S., Crossroads, and From Paris To Chicago. Blue decided to return home despite his increasing popularity as a session musician. This was motivated by his desire to learn from and work with the blues harmonica masters. He arrived in Chicago, where he sat in on sessions with James Cotton, Carey Bell and Junior Wells. Blue spent two years touring the United States with Willie Dixon, his mentor and friend. He then formed his own band in 1983. Blue’s star continued rising with his own band. Blue won the 1985 Grammy Award for Blues Explosion, his Atlantic album. It was recorded live at Montreux Jazz Festival. He was a recording artist on Dixon’s Grammy-winningHidden charms album, and has performed on festival stages alongside classic artists such as Muddy Waters and B.B. King, Art Blakey, and Lionel Hampton are just a few of the many artists he has set his sights on TV and the big screen. For the Cinemax special Fats Domino and Friends, Ray Charles and Jerry Lee Lewis joined him. He also appeared on the screen and in the music score to Alan Parker’s 1987 thriller Angel Heart, which starred Robert De Niro. Blue has recorded and played with many musicians, including Stan Getz, Willie Dixon, Stan Getz and Frank Zappa. Johnny Shines and Bob Dylan are some of his most well-known songs. Blue sings his own version on his 1993 Alligator album BLUE BLAZES. Sugar Blue is a unique songwriter and harmonica master with his second album IN YOUR EYES. Blue has performed at many of the most prestigious venues in America, Europe, and Africa, including Chicago, Montreuz Jazz and Antibes Jazz. He also appeared in Nice, Cannes and Montreal. from

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