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As the largest non-coastal United Statesmarker city, Chicagomarker, Illinoismarker was the major center for music in the midwestern United States, especially in the early 1900s, when the "Great Migration" of poor black workers from the South into the industrial cities brought traditional jazz and blues music to Chicago, resulting in the urban variants Chicago blues and "Chicago-style" Dixieland jazz. Chicago is also well known for its soul music. Chicago has also been home to a thriving folk music scene, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s. John Prine, Steve Goodman and Bonnie Koloc were the most prominent folk singer-songwriters of that time. Goodman, an obsessive Chicago Cubs fan, is most closely associated with the city. The city is also the birthplace of the House music of music, whose history is related to the development and fostering of the Techno style of music in Detroit, Michiganmarker. Over the 1980s and 1990s the Chicago rock music scene became very popular, especially the heavy rock and punk rock scene, as it is still today. The Hip Hop scene in Chicago is also very influential and popular, with major artists including Kanye West, Twista, Common, Lupe Fiasco, Da Brat, Yung Berg and Shawnna. Chicago also has a growing underground metal scene that is taking shape right now, with groundbreaking bands such as Sweet Cobra, Veil Of Maya, Nachtmystium, Plague Bringer, Born Of Osiris, Indian, Lair Of The Minotaur, and Enjoy The Massacre, each making a severe impact in the metal world. And the orchestras of Chicago include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra which is one of the nation's oldest and most respected orchestras., and the Chicago Sinfonietta.


Prior to the 1929 stock market crash, Chicago was central to the music industry, and many of the important early jazz recordings were made in the area, all prohibition-era forms of jazz could be found in Chicago speakeasys as far back as the early 1920s. Chicago music continues to expand today.


Chicago's music scene is well known for its blues music for many years. Chicago Blues uses a variety of instruments in a more rock and roll type of music, instruments like electrically amplified guitar, drums, piano, bass guitar and sometimes saxophone or harmonica which is generally used in Delta blues, which originated in Mississippimarker. Chicago Blues has a more extended palette of notes than the standard six-note blues scale; often, notes from the major scale and dominant 9th chords are added, which gives the music a more "jazz feel" whilst still being in the confines of the blues genre. Chicago blues is also known for its heavy rolling bass. The music developed mainly as a result of the "Great Migration" of poor black workers from the South into the industrial cities of the North such as Chicago in particular, in the first half of the 20th century.

Chicago blues music continues to expand today with the annual Chicago Blues Festival, and with the many musicians such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Willie Dixon; guitar players such as Freddie King, Buddy Guy, John Zachary ("Guitar Johnny Hi-Five"), Bo Diddley and Elmore James ("The King of Slide Guitar"); and "harp" (blues slang for harmonica) players such as Big Walter Horton, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson I, Sly Johnson, Charlie Musselwhite and Junior Wells.


House music originated in Chicagomarker, USAmarker, nightclub called The Warehousemarker. Chicago house is the earliest style of house music. While the origins of the name "house music" are unclear, the most popular belief is that the term "house music" can be traced to the name of that club. DJ Frankie Knuckles originally popularized house music while working at The Warehouse.

House music was developed in the houses, garages and clubs of Chicago initially for local club-goers in the "underground" club scenes, rather than for widespread commercial release. As a result, the recordings were much more conceptual, longer than the music usually played on commercial radio. House musicians used analog synthesizers and sequencers to create and arrange the electronic elements and samples on their tracks, combining live traditional instruments and percussion and soulful vocals with preprogrammed electronic synthesizers and "beat-boxes".

Important musicians in the Chicago house include Adonis, Mark Farina, Keith Farley, Felix da Housecat, Fingers, Inc., Ron Hardy, Larry Heard, Steve 'Silk' Hurley, Marshall Jefferson, Curtis Jones, Paul Johnson, Frankie Knuckles, Lil' Louis, Jesse Saunders, Joe Smooth and Ten City.


The Chicago style

A Chicago Jazz Club

The distinctive Chicago style of jazz originated in southern musicians moving North after World War I, bringing the with them the New Orleansmarker "Dixieland" or sometimes called hot jazz. styles. Louis Armstrong's recordings with his Chicago-based Hot Seven band (which included members of his New Orleans Hot Five) came out during this period. This style of playing was adopted by white musicians who favored meters of 2 instead of 4. Emphasis on solos, faster tempos, string bass and guitar (replacing the traditional tuba and banjo) also distinguish Chicago-style playing from Dixieland.

Important musicians in the Chicago style includeMuggsy Spanier,Jimmy McPartland,Bix Beiderbecke,Eddie Condon,Bud Freeman,Benny Goodman,Gene Krupa,Frank Teschemacher, andFrank Trumbauer.

Modern Chicago jazz

The Jazz Festival is among the most important annual public festivities in the city.

In the 21st century, Chicago continues to have a vibrant and innovative jazz scene, such as the annual Chicago Jazz Festival. Famous Chicago Jazz Festival performers include Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Benny Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, Anthony Braxton, Betty Carter, Lionel Hampton, Chico O'Farrill's big band, Jimmy Dawkins, Von Freeman, Johnny Frigo, Slide Hampton, Roy Haynes, and many others. Major musicians from all living eras of jazz perform regularly in the city, release recordings, and tour nationally and internationally. Sinyan Shen, internationally known for his Shanghai classical repertoire and Shanghai jazz performances based on tonal interests and just intervals, is based in Chicago.

Musicians still performing today who originally came to prominence in the bebop and hard bop eras include Von Freeman and Jimmy Ellis, both contemporaries of former Chicagoan Johnny Griffin.

Members of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians working regularly in the city include Fred Anderson, Ernest Dawkins, Aaron Getsug, and Isaiah Spencer. Since the 1960s, members of the organization have performed their version of "Great Black Music" throughout the world.

Innovative jazz musicians who have come to public attention since the early 1990s include David Boykin, Karl E. H. Seigfried, Jeff Parker, and Jim Baker. Common to many of this new generation is an embrace of a wide variety of styles and techniques.


During the mid 1960s to the late 1970s a new style of soul music emerged from Chicago. The sound of Chicago soul, like southern soul with its rich influence of black gospel music, also exhibited an unmistakable gospel sound, but was somewhat lighter and more delicate in its approach, or sometimes called soft soul. There are many popular R&B/soul artists from Chicago such as R Kelly, Dave Hollister and Carl Thomas. There are also many Chicago soul labels, including, Vee-Jay, Chess Records, OKeh, ABC-Paramount, One-derful, Brunswick, and Curtom.


Urge Overkill
Over the last few decades Chicago has had a thriving Rock and Roll music theme. The rock band Chicago was named after the city, although its original name was the Chicago Transit Authority. The band's name was shortened to Chicago after the CTA threatened to sue them for unauthorized use of the original trademark. Popular 1980s band Survivor is also from Chicago.

In the 1980s and 1990s, alternative rock artists Local H, Eleventh Dream Day, Ministry, Veruca Salt, The Barbie Army, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Material Issue, Liz Phair, Urge Overkill and The Smashing Pumpkins emerged from Chicago. The 2000s have seen local Chicago artists Disturbed, Alkaline Trio, Kill Hannah, The Academy Is, Rise Against, The Audition, Spitalfield, Chevelle, the Plain White T's, and Fall Out Boy also attain success around the U.S., Chicago has become known for indie rockers following in the paths of the Smashing Pumpkins, Urge Overkill, Wilco, and The Jesus Lizard; bands like The Sea and Cake, Califone, OK Go, The Greenskeepers, Andrew Bird and Umphrey's McGee hail from the city. In recent years Chicago has become a pinnacle in the indie rock scene, attracting both premier indie bands and industry attention. Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces, who now reside in Brooklynmarker, New Yorkmarker are originally from Oak Park, Illinoismarker, a suburb of Chicago. Chicago is also home to many independent labels like Thrill Jockey, Drag City, and others, and to the popular music-news website Pitchfork Media.

A handful of punk rock bands are also based in Chicago. Some of the more famous punk rock products of the city are Naked Raygun, The Effigies, 88 Fingers Louie, Big Black (featuring Steve Albini), and Screeching Weasel. Many of these punk and indie bands got their start at noted alternative music venues Metromarker (originally Cabaret Metro), and from 1987-2000, Lounge Axmarker.


The Hip Hop of Chicago or sometimes called Chi-town in the rap industry, includes rappers like Kanye West, Twista, Common, Lupe Fiasco, Da Brat, Yung Berg, Soulja Boy and Shawnna. It started to emerge on the scene in 2004 with Kanye West, who after his first album was nominated for Grammy Award for Album of the Year and won Best Rap Album. And continued with Lupe Fiasco in 2006, with his album Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor which was number one for the top selling Rap album. And in 2007, Yung Berg released his hit single "Sexy Lady". As of today, Chicago is still growing in the Hip-Hop and rap industry.

Music venues/institutions in Chicago


Chicago Theatre at night.

Chicago has many Music venues.


See also


  1. Centerstage Chicago Retrieved on 2008-09-18
  2. Chicago Symphony Orchestra Website. Retrieved on 2008-09-08
  3. Chicago Sinfonietta Website. Retrieved on 2008-11-7
  4. The Secret History of Chicago Music by Plastic Crimewave. Retrieved on 2008-09-22
  5. Cosgrove, Stuart"The History of House Sound of Chicago The Story Continues..." Web reproduction [1]
  6. *
  7. "Chicago Jazz Festival" City of Chicago - Chicago Jazz Festival. Retrieved on 2008-09-07
  8. Reverend Al Sharpton, Michigan Avenue Magazine, Fall 2008, p298.
  9. Chi-town - Rap Dictionary. Retrieved on 2008-11-12
  10. Centerstage Chicago - Music Venues. Retrieved on 2008-10-20

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