George Guy AKA Buddy Guy: 7/30/1936
– Buddy was born in the south but migrated up to Chicago where he fully blossomed as a formidable blues guitarist. He was giving many opportunities to play with various musicians around the area, most notably with Muddy Waters and his band. In fact, the major blues label, Chess Records used Buddy as a main session player for sessions with Muddy, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, and others. Although he had been playing extensively since the early 50’s, Buddy Guy’s career hit its stride around the 80’s when blues was going through a revival period. A large catalyst for this Buddy hype came from Eric Clapton’s inviting Guy to play on his 25 Nights live album at Royal Albert Hall. The performance and subsequent album featured prominent musicians like Albert King, Phil Collins, Nathan East, and Jimmie Vaughan.
Buddy Guy’s influence can be heard vastly across the blues spectrum with musicians like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and John Mayer, who all have named the legend as a major influence on their playing. At 81 years old, Buddy is still recording and performing persistently with his most recent album The Blues is Alive and Well being released in June of this year. As one of the few remaining blues heroes of the early years, Buddy Guy demonstrates that age is not a factor when it comes to music and that he can still deliver a killer blues album sixty-five years later!
Jerry Garcia: 8/1/1942
Jerry Garcia is synonymous with jam bands and one of the most iconic bands in history. Not only was he a dynamic frontman and powerful vocalist, Garcia was also a prodigy on the electric guitar and banjo. Without Garcia’s music and innovative way of playing, many other fan-favorite bands would not exist.
Also, the Cherry Garcia ice cream from Ben and Jerrys is pretty awesome!
Robert Cray: 8/1/1953
A straight blues guitarist and singer from Georgia. He has one of the most soulful and intoxicating voices in the contemporary blues world. He manipulates his Strat in expert fashion and can keep up with the best current players. Instead of sticking to one genre, Cray experiments with a wide range of styles including gospel, r&b, and rock to make his unique voice. Cray has released over 20 studio albums, has played all over the world including multiple large festivals, and has won five Grammy Awards! His 2017 album Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm is a must listen for any blues fan!
Louis Armstrong: August 4, 1901
He was a jazz singer, composer, and trumpet player from 1919-1970. He was one of the most influential musicians in history and had a highly distinct and captivating voice. Almost 50 years after his passing, he is still used as a reference for beginning jazz players both for listening purposes as well as jazz “language” for solos. He not only was an important musical figure, but also an icon in general.