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.
Gene Taylor of The Fabulous Thunderbirds performed at the 4th Annual Motor City Blues and Boogie Woogie Festival in 2002. He began to learn piano from a family of boogie woogie players who lived next door to his home in Norwalk, California at the age of 10. Gene has variously been a member of Canned Heat and The Blasters, and has been with the 'Thunderbirds since 1993.
Koko and her Blues Machine performed at the 9th Annual Motor City Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival in 2007. With two Grammies, eight Grammy nominations, and a record 24 W.C. Handy Awards under her belt, Koko Taylor is one of the most celebrated blues performers alive today. She got her big break from Willie Dixon, who produced her first hit, "Wang Dang Doodle" in 1966.
Daughter of, "The Wailer," Johnny Taylor, Tasha performed on "Gen-2" night with The Phantom Blues Band at the 7th Annual Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival in 2005. Tasha was raised in Dallas, where she absorbed the "old school" soul of her father. Tasha is a singer, songwriter, and compelling live performer. She is also a succesful actress, who has appeared in a variety of televison shows.
Butch performed at the 6th Annual Motor City Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival in 2004. He is best known for his appearances on NPR's, "A Prairie Home Companion" in his native Minnesota, but among cognoscenti around the world he is known as a traditional New Orleans jazz master. He started piano lessons at the age of six, but heard a young "Sugar Chile" Robinson play boogie woogie a few years later. It changed his life. Butch has mastered the repertoires of the likes of James P. Johnson, Willie "The Lion" Smith, and Scott Joplin among others.
New Orleans writer, producer, arranger, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Allen Toussaint was inspired by Professor Longhair and later Fats Domino. As a producer for Minit Records in the 60's, Toussaint played a primary role in defining the New Orleans R&B sound. Allen performed at the 10th Annual Motor City Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival in 2008.
Kenny 'Blues Boss' Wayne (a.k.a. Kenneth Wayne Spruell) performed at the 7th Annual Motor City Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival in 2005. Born in Spokane, Washington and raised in San Francisco, Kenny is now a Vancouver based blues pianist who has been hailed as a cross between Amos Milburn and Fats Domino.
Hamburg, Germany's Vince Weber performed at the 2000 Motor City Boogie Woogie & Blues Festival. Like many boogie players, he was classically trained as a young child, but discovered the blues, the Beatles, and boogie woogie as a teenager. After hearing Otis Spann and Pete Johnson, boogie and blues became his life.
"Uncle" Jesse White was born in Terry, Mississippi just south of Jackson, but lived in Detroit from 1950 until his death. He was considered by many to be the patriarch of the Detroit Blues scene, and his barrelhouse boogie style on the piano entertained blues fans for generations. Uncle Jesse White performed and was recorded at our first Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival in 1999.
Teenage boogie woogie sensation, Maryland's Matt Wigler has appeared on stage with Buckwheat Zydeco, Bobby Rush, Tab Benoit, Sir Mack Rice, and many others. His debut album, "Matt Wigler XIII," named for his age at the time, was produced by Deanna Bogart. Matt played in our 9th Annual Motor City Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival in 2007.
Memphis born pianist Jason D. closed out the 2004 Motor City Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival with a performance that rocked so hard it literally threatened to bring the house down. Jason is an incredibly talented and dynamic performer who plays everything from rockabilly to country to jazz to classic rock 'n' Roll in the Jerry Lee Lewis tradition.
Known as "King of the Blues Harmonica," Little Sonny is known for his hot, driving sound and is one of the most respected artists in Detroit. Willis began singing gospel and spirituals in church as a child in Alabama and became interested in the blues after his mother gave him a toy harmonica. He moved to Detroit in 1953 and has been performing in the city and around the world ever since.
Boogie Woogie prodigy Silvan Zingg from Lugano, Switzerland is shown here at the 7th Annual Motor City Blues & Boogie Woogie Festival entertaining the crowd by interjecting witty dialogue throughout his performance. Silvan's exuberant performance combined with his bright banter charmed the audience.
Axel performed at our first annual Boogie Woogie & Blues Festival in 1999. Considered by many to be the driving force behind the boogie-woogie revival in Europe, Axel studied classical piano for 11 years. At the age of 17 he heard recordings by Albert Ammons, Meade Lux Lewis, and Pete Johnson, and never looked back. Axel has recorded extensively in solo, trio, and small group formats, including collaborations with Jay McShann, Champion Jack Dupree, Big Joe Turner, Sippie Wallace, and The Lionel Hampton Orchestra to name but a few.