2018 Festival Artists
No boogie woogie or blues piano festival is complete without Bob Seeley, whose artistry includes ragtime, Harlem stride, blues and boogie woogie. A Bloomington Boogies favorite who performs regularly around the world, Seeley is "a force of nature - the best boogie woogie player on the planet," according to Dick Hyman. Possibly the greatest living proponent of boogie woogie and a stride piano master, Seeley's greatest influence was Meade Lux Lewis, a giant of boogie woogie and personal friend. Bob first met the maestro in Detroit in the 1940s, and a longstanding friendship developed which greatly influenced Seeley. He also played piano with Art Tatum, who reportedly was duly impressed. Eubie Blake was among Seeley's circle of friends, and he worked as accompanist to Sippie Wallace. He has played Carnegie Hall several times and continues to perform at major venues throughout Europe.
In his book entitled A Left Hand Like God: A History of Boogie-Woogie Piano, author Peter Silvester wrote of Seeley "His solos are notable for their coherence and logical progression, which propels them to a satisfying climax. Of all the contemporary pianists, Seeley reproduces the sound and spirit of Meade Lux Lewis with the most conviction and sometimes even surpasses the master".
At 89 years young, Bob is a phenomenal pianist and one of the greatest boogie woogie players ever.
C. J. Chenier
The son of "King of Zydeco" Clifton Chenier, multi-instrumentalist C. J. Chenier is a Creole born and raised in an indigenous American culture who delivers soulful vocals and accordion. His first instrument was sax, which he began playing with his father's Red Hot Louisiana Band in the late 1970s. C. J. began playing accordion soon after, and as his father's health declined in the 1980s, C. J.'s role as accordionist increased. Upon Clifton's death in 1987, C. J. became the leader of the Red Hot Louisiana Band, famous for its Zydeco blend of cajun and creole music with a healthy dose of blues and R & B. C.J. is widely regarded as one of Zydeco’s best singers, musicians, and live performers.
C. J. has recorded and toured with Paul Simon and many others, taking Zydeco around the world, receiving numerous awards, and "carrying the tradition forward with reverence and some daring" (Houston Chronicle). C.J.’s music has always embraced the traditions of his famous father, but he continues to push the music to new levels.
Everywhere he plays C. J. sees "shoes flying off...You can’t come to my show and stay unhappy all night long. You’re going to break a smile and stomp your foot before too long. This is happy music, and it makes you dance.” C. J has performed at many large festivals, and loves playing in Bloomington. We welcome him back to his second Bloomington Boogies!
Grammy nominated Judy Carmichael is a leading interpreter of stride piano and swing. Count Basie nicknamed her "Stride" because of her command of this technically demanding style. A native of California, Judy moved to New York in the 1980s and maintains a concert schedule around the world. She toured for the U.S. Information Agency in India, Portugal, Brazil and Singapore, and in 1992 she was sponsored by the U.S. Government to tour China. Judy has played in venues from Carnegie Hall, to the Guggenheim Museum in Venice, to programs with Joel Grey, Michael Feinstein, Steve Ross and the Smothers Brothers. The National Endowment for the Arts awarded her a major grant to present early jazz greats on film and to discuss the history and development of jazz piano with college students across the country.
Carmichael’s Grammy-nominated recording, Two Handed Stride, teamed her with four jazz giants ofrom the Count Basie Orchestra: Red Callendar, Harold Jones, Freddie Green and Marshall Royal. Along with her wonderful recordings, Judy authored the book, Swinger! A Jazz Girl's Adventures from Hollywood to Harlem.
Judy will perform in the Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Center Auditorium on Sunday, Aug. 12. She will also lead a free piano workshop and master class for advanced pianists on Monday, Aug. 13, at Tri-North Middle School, on ragtime, illustrating what it is and how it grew into stride and influenced later styles.
We are thrilled to have Judy Carmichael at this year's Bloomington Boogies!
Daryl Davis, known for his energetic boogie woogie, earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Howard University, where he was a member of the University Choir and Jazz Vocal Ensemble. Davis was mentored by legendary pianists Pinetop Perkins and Johnnie Johnson, has played with Chuck Berry, B. B. King, Bruce Hornsby, Elvis Presley's Jordanaires, and President Bill Clinton, among others, and leads The Daryl Davis Band.
Daryl is also a lecturer, author, actor, and Civil Rights activist. He has been involved in successful efforts to improve race relations. These efforts, which have been documented by CBS, NBC, CNN, The Washington Post, NPR and other media outlets, have included engaging with members of the Ku Klux Klan. Davis summed up his reasoning for doing so by saying "Establish dialogue. When two enemies are talking, they're not fighting." His book, Klan-Destine Relationships, is a powerful and personal report of his encounters with klan members.
Bloomington is fortunate to present Daryl Davis at the 2018 Bloomington Blues & Boogie Woogie Piano Festival!
"Boss of the Boogie" Rob Rio plays the boogie woogie and jump blues of the 1940s and 50s with a virtuosity and elan that has excited audiences around the world for over 35 years. Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, Rob now resides in Los Angeles, where he writes, records and performs at festivals, events and clubs as a soloist or with his 5-piece band, The Revolvers.
Rob Rio's main influences include Otis Spann, Memphis Slim, Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, Meade Lux Lewis, Jimmy Yancey, and Roosevelt Sykes. He has appeared with blues greats Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Charles Brown, James Cotton, Joe Cocker and more, and he has recorded with Mick Jagger, Canned Heat, Billy Boy Arnold, William Clarke, and Coco Montoya, among others.
Rob's latest recording is Rob Rio - Live in Anaheim, recorded in May of 2017. Inducted into the Boogie Woogie Hall of Fame in 2008, Rob's first appearance in Bloomington was at the 2017 festival. We welcome Rob Rio back for his second Bloomington Boogies!