Performances and extensive interviews with the artists are recorded on video at our annual Blues and Boogie Woogie Festivals. Excerpted footage is used to produce programs for public television and associated DVDs. The complete raw footage remains in our archives.
We are also engaged in an active quest to record the stories of the elder masters of American music, many of whom are no longer performing.
A native of Louisville, Kentucky and current resident of San Francisco, Caroline Dahl performed at the 5th Annual Boogie Woogie and Blues Festival. Caroline is a self taught master of the American roots styles of boogie-woogie, blues, vintage R&B, swing, and country-swing and has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe.
James Dapogny's Chicago Jazz Band performed with Maria Muldaur at the 6th Annual Motor City Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival in 2004. Pianist Dapogny is Professor of Music at the University of Michigan, and one of world's most foremost scholars on the music of Jelly Roll Morton. He formed the 9-piece Chicago Jazz Band in 1976. They toured and recorded with Sippie Wallace, and have eight albums in their catalog.
The first inductee in the Boogie Woogie Hall of Fame in 1999, Cincinnati's Big Joe Duskin performed and was documented on videotape at the AMRF's first three Boogie Woogie and Blues Festivals. Big Joe was born in Birmingham Alabama in 1921, the son of a Baptist preacher. He fell in love with Gospel Music, and discovered the blues and boogie woogie when the family moved to Cincinnati. Big Joe taught himself to play the piano, and became active in the Cincinnati scene as a teenager.
The Austin Chronicle writes, "Foster's deeply soulful vocals dip into gospel and swing towards contemporary folk with R&B panache. When she sings a cappella, the heavens part." Or as Tommy Castro told us, "The first time I heard Ruthie Foster - my God!" Ruthie grew up in a small town in northern Texas where she was steeped in gospel music. She made a connection with the blues while in college, and her original music derives from both traditions. A vocalist, guitarist, and pianist, Ruthie Foster is in the top of our list, and that of anyone who has ever heard her, of artists deserving wider recognition. Ruthie performed at the 9th Annual Motor City Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival in 2007.
Born in Helena Arkansas in 1927 and raised on Chicago's South Side,reedman Red Holloway is the living embodiment of the bridge between blues and jazz. He gained international acclaim in a quartet with organist Jack Mcduff, guitarist George Benson, and drummer Joe Dukes in the 60's. Red has played with everyone from Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon to Sonny Stitt and Dexter Gordon. Red was also talent coordinator and leader of the house band at Los Angeles' famous Parisian room for 15 years. Red performed on Big Band Boogie Woogie night at the 8th Annual Motor City Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival in 2006.
The Howling Diablos formed as the house band for legendary Detroit blues club Sully's in the early 90's, performing with the likes of Johnny Adams, Albert Collins, and Johnnie Johnson. They describe their own music as "funk/jam blues," and while their huge Detroit fan base may not think of them as a blues band, the Diablo's have never lost touch with their roots.
Kelley is best described as a Roots R&B singer/songwriter/piano player, and was a featured performer in the 2003 Motor City Boogie Woogie & Blues Festival, now in national distribution on public television. During her interview segment, Kelley sentimentally recalls her grandmother's love of gospel music and her own warm devotion to the boogie woogie style of Professor Longhair. Kelley grew up in the grasslands of Kansas' Flint Hills, listening to her parent's collection of blues, R&B, jazz and gospel recordings.
Legendary Motown Funk Brother Joe Hunter, who starred in the award winning biopic documentary "Standing In the Shadows of Motown", was Master of Ceremonies and gave the opening performance at the 5th Annual Boogie Woogie & Blues Festival. It was Joe's boogie-woogie keyboard style that set the "down-home" rootsy feel on most of the "Motown" label's early doo-wop and blues infused recordings.
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Tito Jackson (Jackson 5) made a special guest appearance at the "Gen 2" blues night of the 7th Annual Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival. His lifelong passion for the blues made for an unforgettable vocal and guitar-playing performance in 2005.
The legendary Johnnie Johnson ("Johnny B Goode") was a featured performer at our very first Boogie Woogie Festival in 1999. We are thrilled to have Johnie's performance and an extensive interview on videotape in our archives. Johnnie Johnson passed away in 2005, and our festival that year was dedicated to his memory.
Michael has performed at three of our annual Blues & Boogie Woogie Festivals, and he never fails to get the crowd going. Michael was classically trained in Germany, and at the age of 13 he fell in love with boogie woogie. By the time his family moved to Toronto four years later, he was already a veteran of the German club, concert, and jazz festival circuit.
Bassist and band leader Paul Keller served as Music Director for our 2006 "Big Band Boogie Woogie" program at the 8th Annual Motor City Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival, providing arrangements and leading the 15 piece Paul Keller Orchestra (PKO), augmented by guitarist George Bedard. PKO, first knows as the Bird of Paradise Orchestra, has been playing weekly in Ann Arbor for almost 20 years and has become one of Michigan's mot well-respected and well-travelled ensembles. Paul also tours regularly as a member of Diana Krall's band.
Hailing from Toulouse, France, Philippe LeJeune was a featured performer at 2005's Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival. When not performing, Philippe teaches piano workshops in music schools throughout France and is Artistic Director for the Aurillac Swing Festival and Jazz Series, Jazz au Mecure Toulouse.