Thinking outside the park (and beyond the weekend) | Music Feature | Chicago Reader

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Thinking outside the park (and beyond the weekend)

The Blues Festival spurs dozens of special events around town, including shows by Jamiah Rogers, Lurrie Bell, and Lynne Jordan—plus three historic photo exhibits.

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Jamiah Rogers performs Sunday, June 9, at River Roast. - JOHN "NUNU" ZUMOT
  • John "Nunu" Zumot
  • Jamiah Rogers performs Sunday, June 9, at River Roast.

Time was when the weeks leading up to the Chicago Blues Festival were nearly another festival in themselves. Those days are gone, but the city's blues clubs will still be jumping all weekend. Underpublicized neighborhood joints will throw shows worth noting too, and museums, libraries, and nonprofits will host special events.

The latter include the Chicago History Museum's "Amplified: Chicago Blues" exhibit, which runs through August 10 and features the work of photographer Raeburn Flerlage, as well as "The Rolling Stones at Chess," an exhibit of rarely seen Bob Bonis photos of the Stones' 1964 recording session at Chess, which runs June 5 through June 29 at the Blues Heaven Foundation (housed in the iconic Chess Records building). "Unsung Bronzeville: A Musical History Exhibition," presented by the Chicago Blues Museum at Harold Washington College through the end of the month, includes rare images from some of Bronzeville's most legendary venues and events of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, including the famous night at the Regal when WVON DJs Pervis Spann and E. Rodney Jones crowned Aretha Franklin the "Queen of Soul."

Thursday's shows include the Chicago Blues Camp's "graduation recital" at Rosa's Lounge, which caps a weeklong educational program conducted by some of the city's premier blues artists (some of whom appear at this year's festival). Meanwhile, veteran club MC the Legendary Godfather hosts the South Side Blues Revue at the Ambrosia Room, attached to a resale shop called Another Man's Treasure.

On Friday, Mzz Reese headlines at Dr. J's Place, fresh from her Blues Festival debut, while the Odyssey East presents the Source One Band, led by bassist Joe Pratt and guitarist Sir Walter Scott and featuring vocalist New Orleans Beau. At Motor Row Brewing, Doc Payne (son of legendary drummer Odie Payne) holds forth with his Payne Relief Smooth Blues Band. And in case you need a break from the Millennium Park hubbub during the day, Chicago State University presents a discussion led by "cultural geographer" Tim Cresswell about his book Maxwell Street: Capturing the Essence of a Remembered/Forgotten Place, devoted to Chicago's bygone Sunday-­morning flea market and informal open-air blues festival.

On Saturday, After-Words Books sponsors a "Jazz, Blues, and Beyond Bus Tour" of musical landmarks famous and obscure. On Sunday, worthwhile shows include a performance by blues prodigy Jamiah Rogers at River Roast, the redoubtable Jimmy Johnson doing his regular gig at the Lagunitas taproom, and a Blues Fest satellite show (with Vince "Lefty" Johnson, David Herrero, and others) at what's still being called the Maxwell Street Market but is actually several blocks east. In case you'll still be around Monday, the Fantastic L'Roy appears at Linda's Place that night.

As always, call ahead if you can to make sure a show is really happening.

Thursday, June 6

All-Star Harmonica Blast featuring Omar Coleman, Rob Stone, Martin Lang, Joe Nosek, and Oscar Wilson
8 PM, Reggies' Music Joint, 2105 S. State, 312-949-0210, $20, 21+

"Amplified: Chicago Blues"
A photo exhibit with interactive activities and live music. 9:30 AM-4:30 PM, Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark, 312-642-4600, $19, $17 students and seniors, free for children under 18 (must be Illinois residents)

Chicago Blues Camp Graduation Recital
6 PM, Rosa's Lounge, 3420 W. Armitage, 773-342-0452, $10, free before 8 PM, 21+

Godfather's South Side Blues Revue
Enter through the side door, by the parking lot. 9 PM, Ambrosia Room, 5442 S. Damen, 773-476-0579, free, 21+

Original Chicago Blues All Stars jam session
7 PM, Motor Row Brewing, 2337 S. Michigan, 312-624-8149, $5, all ages

Pre-Fest Blues Bash featuring Corky Siegel & Chamber Blues, Lynne Jordan, Toronzo Cannon
8 PM, City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph, 312-733-9463, $35-$48, all ages

"The Rolling Stones at Chess"
Photo exhibit. Noon-4 PM, Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation, 2120 S. Michigan, 312-808-1286, $15, $10 youth ages 5-17

"Unsung Bronzeville: A Musical History Exhibition"
Presented by the Chicago Blues Museum. Runs through June 30. Opening reception at 1:30 PM with a short talk by exhibit curators. 9 AM-4 PM, Harold Washington College, 30 E. Lake, 312-553-5600, free, all ages

Friday, June 7

"Amplified: Chicago Blues"
A photo exhibit with interactive activities and live music. 9:30 AM-4:30 PM, Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark, 312-642-4600, $19, $17 students and seniors, free for children under 18 (must be Illinois residents)

Chicago Blues Super Session featuring Lurrie Bell, Billy Flynn, Deitra Farr, Bob Stroger, Brother John Kattke, Dave Katzman, Melvin Smith, David Sims, Omar Coleman
10 PM, Reggies' Music Joint, 2105 S. State, 312-949-0210, $20, 21+

Doc Payne & the Payne Relief Smooth Blues Band with special guests
7 PM, Motor Row Brewing, 2337 S. Michigan, 312-624-8149, $10 (two-drink minimum), 21+

Elmore James Jr. & the Broomdusters
9 PM, the Water Hole, 1400 S. Western, 312-243-7988, free (two-drink minimum), 21+

"Maxwell Street: Capturing the Essence of a Remembered/Forgotten Place"
Book discussion with author Tim Cresswell. 1 PM, Chicago State University, Gwendolyn Brooks Library, 9501 S. Martin Luther King, 773-995-2000, free, all ages, children must be accompanied by an adult

Mzz Reese
9 PM, Dr. J's Place, 3421 W. Chicago, free, 21+

"The Rolling Stones at Chess"
Photo exhibit. Noon-4 PM, Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation, 2120 S. Michigan, 312-808-1286, $15, $10 youth ages 5-17

Source One Band featuring New Orleans Beau
9 PM, Odyssey East, 9942 S. Torrence, 773-978-6520, free, 21+

"Unsung Bronzeville: A Musical History Exhibition"
Presented by the Chicago Blues Museum. Runs through June 30. 9 AM-4 PM, Harold Washington College, 30 E. Lake, 312-553-5600, free, all ages

Saturday, June 8

"Amplified: Chicago Blues"
A photo exhibit with interactive activities and live music. 9:30 AM-4:30 PM, Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark, 312-642-4600, $19, $17 students and seniors, free for children under 18 (must be Illinois residents)

Corey Dennison
9:10 PM (two sets), Miller Lite Beer Garden, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, free, all ages

Jazz, Blues, and Beyond Bus Tour
Reservation required. 10:30 AM, After-Words Books, 23 E. Illinois, 312-464-1110, $65, all ages

Fernando Jones benefit for the Blues Kids Foundation
Blues Kids jam at 6:30 PM, pro jam at 8:30 PM, Fernando Jones at 11 PM. Motor Row Brewing, 2337 S. Michigan, 312-624-8149, $10 (two-drink minimum), all ages

"The Rolling Stones at Chess"
Photo exhibit. Noon-4 PM, Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation, 2120 S. Michigan, 312-808-1286, $15, $10 youth ages 5-17

Smiley Tillmon
Noon, River Roast, 315 N. LaSalle, 312-822-0100, free, all ages

"Unsung Bronzeville: A Musical History Exhibition"
Presented by the Chicago Blues Museum. Runs through June 30. 9 AM-2 PM, Harold Washington College, 30 E. Lake, 312-553-5600, free, all ages

Wall of Denial
Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute band. 5:30 PM (two sets), Miller Lite Beer Garden, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, free, all ages

Marvin Weathersby
2 PM (two sets), Miller Lite Beer Garden, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, free, all ages

Sunday, June 9

"Amplified: Chicago Blues"
A photo exhibit with interactive activities and live music. Noon-5 PM, Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark, 312-642-4600, $19, $17 students and seniors, free for children under 18 (must be Illinois residents)

Blues at Maxwell Street Market with Vince "Lefty" Johnson, David Herrero, and others
Noon, New Maxwell Street Market, 800 S. Des Plaines, free, all ages

Blues Fest after-party with Jimmy Johnson, Billy Flynn, Bob Stroger, Melvin Smith, Dave Katzman, David Sims
9 PM, Reggies' Music Joint, 2105 S. State, free, 21+

Jimmy Johnson & Leo Charles
4:20 PM, Lagunitas Brewery Tap Room, 2607 W. 17th, 773-522-1308, free, 21+

Jamiah Rogers
Noon, River Roast, 315 N. LaSalle, 312-822-0100, free, all ages

Source One Band featuring New Orleans Beau
8 PM, Odyssey East, 9942 S. Torrence, 773-978-6520, free, 21+

Monday, June 10

"Amplified: Chicago Blues"
A photo exhibit with interactive activities and live music. 9:30 AM-4:30 PM, Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark, 312-642-4600, $19, $17 students and seniors, free for children under 18 (must be Illinois residents)

The Fantastic L'Roy
9:30 PM, Linda's Place, 1044 W. 51st, 773-373-2351, free, 21+

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