The legendary blues group “The Siegel-Schwall Band” will be coming to Wautoma’s McComb/Bruchs Performing Arts Center on Saturday, April 12th at 7:00 PM. The performance is being sponsored Silvercryst Supper Club, BMO Harris Bank, Weekly Timber & Pulp, ACE Hardware, Antique Liquor, and Blackhawk Folk Society. The concert is part of the band’s limited engagement 50th Anniversary Tour.
Along with the first-wave British Invasion bands like The Rolling Stones, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and stateside groups like The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, The Siegel-Schwall Band were instrumental in The Great Blues Revival of the 1960’s. Like Paul Butterfield, Siegel-Schwall were Chicago-based, serving as the house band at the famed Pepper’s Lounge. They earned their spurs backing greats like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter and Willie Dixon.
From 1966 until they disbanded in 1974, they ranked among the most important forces in reaching the baby boomer audience that sustains the blues to this day. The Siegel-Schwall Band also pioneered the cross-fertilization of the blues with other forms, performing Bill Russo’s “Three Pieces For Blues Band and Symphony Orchestra” in 1968 with the San Francisco Symphony and The Boston Pops. Corky Siegel has continued this expansion of the blues with his project, Chamber Blues.
The current band includes two other genuine notables, bassist Rollo Radford and drummer Sam Lay. Radford’s resume stretches from Martha & The Vandellas to Sun Ra, giving him the artistic range to follow wherever Siegel and Schwall want to take the blues. Lay’s credentials are awesome. His stellar work with Muddy Waters, Little Walter and The Paul Butterfield earned him entry in both The Blues and The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. “The word ‘legendary’ gets thrown around a lot these days, but it seems appropriate to apply to The Siegel-Schwall Band.” – Triple Door, Seattle
Corky Siegel has earned an international reputation as one of the world’s great blues harmonica masters. He is a composer, blues pianist, singer / songwriter, and recent winner of the Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest/Meet the Composer’s national award for chamber music composition and the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award for Music Composition. Corky Siegel’s career began with a fortunate break when he formed the legendary Siegel-Schwall Band that toured the major rock palaces and clubs in the 60’s and 70’s. He was introduced to the blues through his very first steady engagement at Peppers the internationally renowned blues club where his job included performances with the blues masters themselves, such as Willie Dixon, Little Walter, Muddy Waters, and Howlin’ Wolf. “For groups like the Rolling Stones … names like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf were exotic inspirations. For Siegel-Schwall they were the guys that played with them on 43rd Street.” – Lin Brehmer – Music Director for WXRT radio.
Corky Siegel has 18 recordings and over 35 reissues on: Vanguard, RCA, Alligator (the exclusively Blues label) and Gadfly Records, and two album projects for the prestigious classical label Deutsche Grammophon. He has written and performed works for Arthur Fiedler and the San Francisco Symphony, the Grant Park Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra – for a Kennedy Center performance where the Washington Post proclaimed that “Siegel is a Phenomenon”. His music has been choreographed by 5 different international ballet companies and has been used for many national TV specials and motion pictures as well as the 1988 Olympic men’s figure skating competition, the 1997 World Championship skating competition with Olympic Gold Medalists, Torvill and Dean, and a recent ABC-TV series including two works for three PBS programs – one of which won an Emmy Award for 2002.
Mr. Siegel’s partnership in the renowned Siegel-Schwall Band, his performances as soloist with orchestras world-wide, and his collaborations with conductor Seiji Ozawa in bringing a ground-breaking blues-classical sound to national attention are all a reflection of Mr. Siegel’s prodigious talent. Corky’s newest project Chamber Blues, with the West End String Quartet, and Frank Donaldson on world percussion, blends classical and blues styles in a chamber music setting. Corky was recently inducted in the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame.
Jim Schwall, Guitar, Mandolin, singer-songwriter – is the co-leader of the Siegel-Schwall Band, “one of the best acts in America”, – Billboard Magazine. The Boston Globe has called Mr. Schwall “undoubtedly the best electric guitarist in the country.”
In the 1960’s, the Siegel- Schwall Band was signed overnight by Vanguard Records and later RCA. During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s the band drew capacity crowds to the most popular clubs and auditoriums in the U.S., while their records received world acclaim. Along with their peers, Paul Butterfield and Charlie Musslewhite, Siegel-Schwall introduced Chicago blues to the large rock audience.
In 1974, at the height of their career, Siegel-Schwall disbanded. In 1988, the group reunited for a reunion concert for popular radio station, WXRT in Chicago, which resulted in their 13th recording, this time live on Alligator Records.
Mr. Schwall has recently received a PhD. in music, and has divided his time between performances and as a Professor of Music. Currently, Mr. Schwall lives in Madison where he was a candidate for Mayor of that city, as well as a high school subsititute teacher and a grad student in art at the University of Wisconsin. He has had many critically acclaimed shows of his photography work, and still plays the classic electrified Gibson B-25 acoustic guitar which he’s used extensively since acquiring it in 1959.
Sam Lay, Drummer, vocalist – is one of the most celebrated virtuoso drummers in blues history, and a mainstay since the late 1950’s. He began his auspicious career in 1957 as drummer for the Original Thunderbirds and soon after became the drummer for the legendary harp genius, Little Walter.
In the early 1960’s Mr. Lay began recording and performing with the founding fathers of blues, Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. The recordings Lay made during this time, (including Muddy Waters’ Fathers and Sons album recorded in the 70’s), are considered to be among the definitive works from the careers of Waters and Wolf.
In the mid 60’s Mr. Lay was persuaded to join with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and recorded and toured extensively with this important blues group. Bob Dylan (with Sam Lay as his drummer) was the first performer to introduce electric-rock at the Newport Folk Festival. Lay also recorded with Dylan – most notably on the Highway 61 album. His unique style of drumming can be heard on over 40 recordings for the famed Chess Records label with the most prominent names in the world of blues. He has recently toured the major Blues festivals around the US and Europe with the Chess Records All-Stars.
In the late 1980’s Sam Lay was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis. He was recently inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame in Los Angeles, and the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. He was nominated eight times for the coveted W. C. Handy Award for “Best Instrumentalist” including a recent 2005 nomination.
Mr. Lay has two very recent recordings with his own band on Appaloosa Records, Evidence Records, and a recording on Alligator Records with the Siegel-Schwall Band and was nominated in 2000 for a Grammy Award for his performances on the “Howlin’ Wolf Tribute” CD and was honored by the Recording Academy January 2002 for the ” Legends and Hero’s Award” for his significant musical contributions and was prominently featured on a PBS-TV broadcast of 7 episodes on the “History of the Blues” produced by Academy Award winning director, Martin Scorsese.
Rollo Radford, Bassist, Singer-Songwriter – began his professional career at the age of 19 when the legendary jazz vocalist, Dinah Washington, gave him his start. He then served in the Army and upon returning joined with the very popular Top 40’s sensation, Martha and the Vandellas.
As part of the highly regarded Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Mr. Radford has performed with various world renown jazz ensembles. He was a member of the Siegel-Schwall Band recording 7 of their 12 albums on RCA, Alligator, and Deutsche Grammophon Records, and frequently performed at rock palaces such as Bill Graham’s legendary Fillmore West. Touring with Siegel-Schwall on their recent Reunion Concert Tour, he has performed in Lisbon, Portugal with the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra where Siegel-Schwall were guest soloists, at the Smithsonian Institute,and this season is highlighted with a tour of the Carribbean.
Mr. Radford’s televised performances include many appearances on NBC TV’s rock show hit, Midnight Special with the great soul singer Walter Jackson, with blues legend Muddy Waters on the show Soundstage, and on Great Performances, with Siegel-Schwall, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Symphony, and with rock and roll legend Chuck Berry. He has toured around the globe with the innovative jazz master, Sun Ra, playing the great halls of the world such as Carnegie Hall, and appearances at the renown jazz and music festivals in Japan, Russia, and Europe. He has lived in New Orleans for nearly 4 years where he performed with June Gardener (Sam Cook’s drummer), the Neville Brothers, and many great performers on Bourbon Street.
Mr. Radford has a teaching degree and accreditation for teaching the behavior disordered students, and now divides his time between performances and teaching troubled youths in Chicago schools.
Tickets to “The Siegel-Schwall Band” and all remaining 2013-14 Season shows can be purchased at the McComb/Bruchs Performing Arts Center located at 514 S. Cambridge St., Wautoma. A special Silvercryst dinner package is also available with the show. The box office reopens March 31st , Monday through Friday, 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. Orders may be placed at any time by phone at (920) 787-2189, or toll-free at (888) 987-2189, Visa, Discover, and MasterCard are accepted. Group and student discounts are available. For more information visit the PAC website at www.mccombbruchspac.com.