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The Capital Area Blues Society Beale Street Blues Send Off Party.

2015 Beale Street Bound Blues Party Send-off party and travel fundraiser at the Green Door Blues Bar on Sunday, January 18, 2015 from 3 – 8 p.m.

Join the Capital Area Blues Society (CABS) as we host this annual fund-raising bash to send our local Blues Brawl winners off to Memphis, Tennessee to compete in the 2015 International Blues Challenge (IBC). 

This stellar afternoon of entertainment will feature CABS Blues Brawl Duo winners Gina Garner and Brian Kandler and Band winner Big Boss Blues Band with performances by The Capital Area Blues All-Stars and Bill Richards.  Enjoy some of the best blues in Lansing as we raise money to offset expenses for our local winners, before they head to Beale Street in Memphis, January 20 – 24 as Lansing’s affiliate representatives at the international competition.

Doors at the Green Door will open at 3 p.m. with music from 4 – 8 p.m.  Admission is $10 at the door; youth under age 16 are free with a paying adult. 

Come out and support your local blues ambassadors before they head down south to battle it out with some of the best blues musicians from around the world!  Bring the family or come on your own and enjoy the music, dancing and hospitality of the Green Door Blues Bar and Grill, 2005 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing, MI, 517-482-6376 or www.greendoorlive.com.   For event updates and more blues visit CABS at www.facebook.com/CABSblues

National News and Beyond

Eddie Cotton Winner of 2015 International Blues Challenge.

Vicksburg, Mississippi-based singer-guitarist Eddie Cotton was the first place winner in the band competition of the 31st International Blues Challenge which concluded Saturday evening with final rounds and awards announcements at the Orpheum.

It was the second year in a row for a band represented by the Vicksburg Blues Society to win the blues challenge. The International Blues Challenge featured 250 acts, including 50 from outside the U.S., playing in 20 venues over five days on and around Beale Street. The acts are nominated by local blues organizations that stage competitions for a  chance to perform in Memphis.

Other award categories included best solo or duo (Randy McQuay from the Cape Fear Blues Society in North Carolina), best guitarist (Noah Wotherspoon from the Dayton Blues Society in Ohio), the Lee Oskar harmonica award (French musician Nico Wayne Toussaint from the Southern California Blues Society), and best self-produced CD (Altered Five Blues Band from Milwaukee).

This was the last IBC to be overseen by Jay Sieleman, who is stepping down after 12 years as president and CEO of The Blues Foundation. Sieleman, who said he will continue to volunteer for the foundation.  An opening for the job will be announced soon and the foundation’s board hopes to announce his successor by August or September.

International Blues Challenge Organizers estimated that an average of 4,000 people were to attend IBC events each night. Many of them were out-of-town and international guests who came to Memphis to support competitors from their local blues chapters.

Winners received a prizes including cash ($3,000 for the top band), musical instruments and gigs at festivals and casinos.

The next International Blues Challenge takes place Jan. 26-30, 2016.

Alberta Adams Queen of Detroit Blues Passes at 97.

Detroit singer Alberta Adams was 97 when she died early Christmas morning at a Dearborn rehabilitation facility.

"God put me here to sing the blues," she told the Free Press in 1999, amid a late-life career resurgence that saw her touring North America and earning acclaim from blues aficionados around the world. Born in July 1917 in Indianapolis to what she described as an alcoholic mother, Adams (then Roberta Louise Osborne) moved to Detroit as a child and was raised by an aunt.

Ms. Adam's started her entertainment career in Detroit's Hastings Street, working as a tap dancer in her early 20s. She got her singing break when called to fill in for an ailing headliner at Club B and C. Among her contemporaries and musical teachers on Hastings Street were John Lee Hooker, Big Maceo, Eddie Burns, and Eddie Kirkland.

Becoming a regular at clubs around town in the 1940s, she eventually was discovered by Chess Records and cut several singles with them. She also briefly recorded with Berry Gordy's Thelma Records and New Jersey's Savoy label.

Embracing the nickname "Queen of the Blues" Adams went on to share bills with artists including Duke Ellington, Louis Jordan and T-Bone Walker, touring into the 1980s.

She was still performing around Detroit in the mid-1990s when she linked up with R J Spangler, a musician working with veteran Detroit blues men, including the late Johnnie Bassett and Joe Weaver.

The new setup — including collaborations with Bassett — sparked attention, leading to appearances on nationally released compilation discs and a pair of solo albums for Cannonball Records, her first recordings since the 1960s.

Adams, by then in her 80s, was tickled by the career rejuvenation. Lively on stage, her fingers laden with glittering rings, Adams had a knack for showmanship. "I can't stand still and sing," she told the Free Press. "I got to move."

"I would tell the guys in rock bands: If you learn to communicate with an audience like this lady does, you might have something someday," said Detroit music publicist Matt Lee, who represented Adams. "In terms of audience connection, she was the best I ever saw."

In 2008, she recorded her final full album, "Detroit Is My Home," her second for Eastlawn Records, composing several songs and collaborating with a host of local musicians.

In February 2014, singer Thornetta Davis and guest singer Tosha Owens were featured in a tribute concert to Adams, titled "To Alberta With Love." At the time Adams was 96 years old.

Adams' activity was curtailed after a fall at her west-side Detroit home, and she spent recent years in and out of hospitals.She was hospitalized earlier in December and transferred to the Dearborn rehab facility.

Adams is survived by her daughter, Barbara Jean Tinsley, and nine grandchildren. Her son, the Detroit doo-wop singer James Drayton, died in 2001.

Allmusic has called her "the personification of the Detroit blues scene," stating that "the undisputed, unrivaled, peerless Detroit Queen of the Blues is Alberta Adams." Mostly a self-taught vocalist, Adams has referenced some of her earliest musical influences as blues shouter Big Joe Turner and singer-songwriters Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, and LaVern Baker.

Drummer Dallas Taylor Passes — Played With Crosby, Stills, And Nash

Legendary drummer Dallas Taylor died at just age 66 on Sunday January 17, 2015 Sunday.  The rock drummer was a key sideman for the group Crosby, Stills, And Nash. After Neil Young joined the group, he performed with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. He played at Woodstock and appeared on seven top-selling albums.  He also stabbed himself in the stomach with a butcher knife and drank so heavily that he required a liver transplant in 1990, five years after becoming sober.

Taylor enjoyed success in the mid-60's, initially with psychedelic rockers Clear Light following the success of the band's first single "Black Roses" in 1967.

Taylor is best known for his performance on Crosby, Stills & Nash's 1969 debut album, Crosby, Stills, & Nash, and their follow-up with Neil Young, Deja-Vu released in 1970. Taylor also performed with CSNY during their legendary performance at Woodstock in 1969. Unfortunately, Taylor's excessive drug use would cost him his job.

Dallas was officially sacked from Crosby, Stills and Nash in 1970 as he battled an out-of-control drug addiction. However, his talent was too great to ignore and he appeared on Stephen Stills’ self-titled solo album in 1970. He continued to work with the singer with Stills’ group, Manassas, and played on the group’s 1972 self-titled debut album and 1973’s Down The Road. He performed with Van Morrison at the 1974 Montreux Jazz Festival, in a quartet that included keyboard player Pete Wingfield. He reappeared later in the same decade as Paul Butterfield’s touring drummer.

Taylor has been in poor health for some time, and his wife was so devoted to him that she even donated one of her kidneys when Taylor required a transplant in 2007.His poor health meant that he largely withdrew from the music business after his liver transplant in 1990. In the 1980's Dallas later worked as an addiction counselor and worked with musicians and other celebrities who had addiction problems.

Dallas Taylor’s death comes just nine days after that of Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young’s bass player, Tim Drummond, who passed away on January 10.

Willie Popsy Nixon Passes Away at Age 72

Willie "Popsy" Dixon, longtime drummer and vocalist for the soul and blues band the Holmes Brothers, has died in Virginia on January 9th 2015. He was 72.

Born in Virginia Beach, Dixon met brothers Sherman and Wendell Holmes at a New York gig in 1967. They played the bar circuit until 1979 when they officially formed the Holmes Brothers.

Dixon was known for his soaring, soulful, multi-octave vocals and his driving drumming. With the Holmes Brothers, Dixon toured the world and released 12 albums. Their most recent release was 2014's Brotherhood on Alligator.

Dixon, born in Virginia Beach, Virginia on July 26, 1942, was celebrated for his soulful multi-octave vocals and his driving drumming. He first met brothers Sherman and Wendell Holmes at a New York gig in 1967, sat in with them and sang two songs. “After that second song,” recalls Wendell, “Popsy was a brother.” They played in a variety of Top 40 bar bands until 1979, when the three officially joined forces and formed The Holmes Brothers. The New York Times described the group as “deeply soulful, uplifting and timeless.” They toured the world, releasing 12 albums starting with 1990’s In The Spirit on Rounder. Their most recent release is 2014’s Brotherhood on Alligator.

Dixon first played the drums when he was seven. He told Blues On Stage, “My mom and dad took me to the store and told me to get anything I liked. There was this tiny red drum set, with a tiny little kick drum and snare…little cymbals. Now, that’s what I wanted! By the next morning, the thing was in the trash can. I beat it all to death. But, I tell you what…I knew how to play after that. I just knew. I had the rhythm down pat and had timing too. Just that fast. I been playing ever since.”

The Chicago Tribune described Dixon’s voice as “otherworldly…a gift to the world of music.” Living Blues said, “Popsy’s voice is a wonder…spontaneous and raw.”

In September 2014, The Holmes Brothers were honored with a National Endowment For The Arts National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor the United States bestows upon its folk and traditional artists.

Dixon is survived by daughter Desiree Berry and longtime partner Isobel Prideaux. Interment will be at the Holmes’ family plot in Saluda, Virginia.

Cliffird Adams Noted Trombonists Passes Away at Age 62

Clifford Adams, known for decades as a successful musician and valued friend, passed away Monday morning January 12, 2015 at age 62.

Adams performed over the past 44 years with music stars, Patti LaBelle, Kool and the Gang, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, amongst many others and left a legacy of appreciation.

Adams, a master musician and jazz educator, first hit the road in 1970 with the legendary Patti LaBelle and The Bluebells. The following year, he made his recording debut with jazz organ giant Charles Earland. After a two-year stint with Earland, he toured with the Stylistics, and a number of the world’s greatest jazz musicians: Lou Donaldson, Johnny Hammond Smith and Richard “Groove” Holmes, Rashied Ali, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Billy Taylor, Sonny Stitt, Jackie McLean, Clark Terry, Roy Haynes, Charlie Rouse, Woody Shaw, Max Roach, The Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington, that often backed vocalists Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Williams and Sarah Vaughn.

In 1977, Adams started a long-standing association with Kool & the Gang. As an educator, he taught Master classes among many places as Princeton University, Yale, Rutgers, Lawrenceville Prep School, Trenton State College, Duke University, Hartford University and Rowan State College.

Born October 8, 1952 in Trenton NJ, Clifford showed a strong appreciation for classical Jazz in his preteen years. It was in junior high school that Clifford experienced a life altering revelation when he was introduced to the trombone. The music he was most exposed to was the masters of classical Jazz. Clifford’s mother, Ms. Evelyn B. Adams, always had an intellectual and heartfelt appreciation for this music. The genre seemed to manifest itself through notes coming out of young Clifford’s trombone. As the trombone fused itself with Clifford’s spirit, it became a true voice of self-expression for a gifted and budding young musician.

In 1968, Clifford got his professional start in Trenton, in the horn section of a band called the VSQs. He, Michael Ray, and Jimmy Stackhouse comprised that horn section. By the age of 17, Clifford was playing on the road with Patti Labelle and the Bluebells. After spending the summer on the road, he returned home to further his education in music theory at Trenton State College. He sat in at the Fantasy Lounge, a Trenton Jazz club where young musicians were groomed, and played for matinee audiences. Clifford played there with Sonny Stitt, James Moody, George Benson, Shirley Scott, Gene Ammons, Don Patterson, and Charles Earland, who took young Adams out on the road.

While playing at Harlem’s famed jazz spot, The Club Barron, Clifford met many jazz greats such as Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, and many more. Clifford met, and most times played with, almost all of his heroes. He left an indelible impression on many of them.

In 1973, Cliff Adams, Mike Ray, and Larry Gittens were the horn section for The Stylistics world tour. Clifford went on a two-year stint with the world famous Thad Jones and Mel Lewis Big Band. After playing with Duke Ellington’s Orchestra headed by the Mercer Ellington, he did a European tour with Max Roach, and then formally joined Kool & the Gang.

Generations of people are familiar with the Clifford Adams trombone solos on “Joanna” and “Slam Dunk” released by Kool & the Gang

The following year, Clifford released his debut solo project; a classical Jazz CD entitled “The Master Power,” which did very well throughout Europe, home to an enormous Adams’ fan base. His next CD, “I Feel Your Spirit,” represents the first forum where Clifford truly expresses his multi-faceted nature. More importantly, it is the first smooth jazz album ever to feature a lead trombone. The songs chosen allow looseness and tightness, humility and confidence, a serious groove and free form, to work in harmony for the listeners’ pleasure.

 Adams spent several weeks at a Capital Health Medical Center in Trenton before being transferred to Newark’s University Hospital. He passed away there early Monday morning.