Sat. Jan. 14 Blues U.® Chicago Blues History Tour : South Side & Chess Records, Record Row

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Blues University® hosts a Saturday afternoon guided tour that walks on the hallowed ground of Chicago blues history, offering photo opportunities at the Chess Records Building, “Record Row”,  the Maxwell Street Market District, and the Bronzeville Blues District. The tour departs at 12:00 p.m. and lasts 120 minutes, explaining why Chicago became the capital of blues music, exploring the “classic era” of the new Chicago blues sound, dominated by Chess Records, and how it led to the later wave of blues from the West Side that spawned stars like Buddy Guy and Otis Rush. The tour departs from several locations, including Jazz Record Mart, 25 E. Illinois, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, and the Congress Hotel Tap, at 520 S. Michigan.

Register for Chicago Blues History Tour: South Side & Chess Records, Record Row in Chicago, IL  on EventbriteTickets go on sale Saturday, December 3.

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SPECIAL OFFER: Please show your ticket at Jazz Record Mart for a 10% discount on any regularly-priced items.

Steve Pasek

Steve Pasek

120 minute narrated sightseeing tour with promoter/educator/writer Steve Pasek, chronicling the history of Blues Heaven FoundationChicago Blues, and visiting some of the hallowed sites, including – Chess Records Building / Blues Heaven Foundation (guided tour of the building is included), Bronzeville/47th St. Blues District, Record Row.

  • Chess Records was the “often imitated, never duplicated” premier label of the blues and was ficitionalized in the movie Cadillac Records.  Blues Heaven Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, now runs the building as a historic archive and provides access to tour groups.
  • Bronzeville is the south-side neighborhood which was a thriving black metropolis during the boom years of Chicago blues, and it was the home to many of the most famous blues performers and nightclubs where they thrilled audiences.  Today it is a historic district, with an emerging “blues district” in development.  It has a long and storied history which includes both raconteurs and entrpreneurs, show houses and house of ill repute, and they all contributed to the development of blues in Chicago.
  • Record Row was the nickname given to the near south side area where record company offices seemed to cluster, including famous labels like Vee-Jay and Chess, as well as many smaller labels which orchestrated Chicago’s role as the “blues capital”.

    Willie Dixon

    Willie Dixon

The narrated tour will explore how these all played a role in the history and development of Chicago Blues.

Cameras, video cameras allowed and encouraged!

A different Blues History Tour will also be offered on Sunday, May 15, as part of the Chicago Blues Weekend, with a West Side / Maxwell Market District emphasis on Sunday. Click this link for a full listing of events.

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