Few can claim to have forged an entirely original genre of music. in 1966, Corky Siegel did just that with the help of world renown Classical Maestro Seiji Ozawa who came into a famed Chicago Blues club discovered the blues harmonica virtuoso and suggested a collaboration. Guiding the blues of Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters out of the smoky cavern of Big John’s and onto the stages of the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic and beyond, the harmonica-playing mad scientist had the tuxedo-and-gown crowd on its feet, clamoring for more of this blues-classical alchemy. These days, the harmonica virtuoso and composer is continent-hopping with Indian percussion and string quartet in Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues, continuing to bring classical and blues fans shoulder-to-shoulder, and obliterating musical categorization in the process.
Chamber Blues is celebrating more than 30 years of performances that have brought this original genre to great success, all with returns, at the prestigious Aspen Music Festival, Canada’s Banff Centre, and the Montreal International Jazz Festival, France’s premier Blues Festival, Blues Sur Seine, The Grand Teton Music Festival, tours throughout Mexico in palatial concert venues, Hawaiian, U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and the great concert halls throughout the United States such as Chicago’s Symphony Center.
This journey has included countless radio and TV credits such as NPR’s Weekend Edition, Morning Edition, All Thing’s Considered, West Coast Live, major motion pictures, ABC-TV, and featured in such wildly diverse industry music pantheons as: Jazziz, Chamber Music America, and Blues Revue magazines. They have enjoyed collaborating with diverse guests like multi-instrumentalist jazz great Howard Levy, Jazz Icon Ernie Watts, vocal R and B star Marcella Detroit, and folk-roots rising stars Sons of the Never Wrong.
Along the way Corky Siegel has enjoyed receiving honors such as the French Government’s Grand Prix du Disque, a Chicago Music Lifetime Achievement Award, and one of the most prestigious NEA awards for classical composition, Meet The Composer, whose list of recipients are considered among the top composers of our day such as Phillip Glass, John Cage, Robert Reich and Meredith Monk.
It’s not surprising then that Corky Siegel would be probably the only Bluesman on prestigious classical label Deutsche Grammophon, and his classical chamber ensemble is unique to premier Blues label, Alligator Records distributed world-wide by WEA.
What’s new on the horizon? A major documentary film, “Born in Chicago” will be released in theaters and along with Corky Siegel and members of Chamber Blues featuring: Jack White, Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Rolling Stones, Hubert Sumlin, and many critical music icons. Chamber Blues has completed their 4th CD "Different Voices (25th for Corky) and it is scheduled for release in February 2017. They continue to bring their infectious joyful original celebration of Chicago Blues with a quartet of supreme classical virtuosos in concert with one of it’s most beloved Bluesmen, Corky Siegel.