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Event Sun Feb 05 2012

Chicago's Music Man: Celebrating Carl Davis


Panel members discuss Carl Davis; Chicago Public Library. Photo: Charles Jackson.

When it comes to classic soul music, Chicago has richly contributed to America's cultural landscape; with groups and singers such as Jerry "The Iceman" Butler, The Impressions, Gene Chandler, The Staple Singers, The Artistics and The Chi-Lites, the Chicago sound is a major contributor to popular music. According to legendary Chicago radio personality, V103's Herb Kent, the "Chicago sound" is undeniable. "Back in the day there was the Philly sound and the Motown sound--and we had the Chicago sound. It started a bit before Carl Davis, but he refined it," said Kent.

Yesterday, the Chicago Public Library began its African American History Month programming with a celebrity panel tribute to Chicago's own, legendary music producer and record executive, Carl Davis. During the era of the 50s through the 70s, the Grammy-nominated Davis was instrumental in shaping Chicago's music scene and was also an integral part of Chicago's famed "Record Row."

Held at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, 9525 S. Halsted and moderated by award-winning journalist Clarence Waldron, the panelists who paid homage to Davis included Herb Kent, legendary singers and Chicago natives, Gene Chandler and Marshall Thompson (The Chi-Lites), Dr. Leonard Fourte, Chicago Blues Museum founder Gregg Parker, recording industry executive Gus Redmond and label executive Maurice White. For the panelists, Davis' contributions to and support of Chicago artists, his influence, as well as his uncanny ability to recognize a "hit" song, deserve to be celebrated.


L to R: Gene Chandler; Marshall Thompson and Herb Kent. Photo: Charles Jackson.

Davis was unable to attend the event; however, he spoke to the packed auditorium via phone: "I appreciate that you all are there; I'm just glad to know I'm being honored while I'm still here," he said.

The panelists also discussed a range of topics including Davis' autobiography, The Man Behind the Music: the Legendary Carl Davis, songwriting, music production, the state of black music and the current state of music industry, in general.

In addition to Davis, "Soul Train's" Don Cornelius, another Chicago legend, was also honored, with each panel member sharing a memory of the late cultural icon. "He influenced all races--everybody loved 'Soul Train'," said White. "He will be sorely missed, but 'Soul Train' lives on."

For more information on the Chicago Public Library's African American History month events, click here.


Marcie / February 5, 2012 10:26 PM

It was a hugely great event, and to see living legends was awesome. To learn Carl Davis' contribution to the music industry, especially his mark on Chicago music was...WOW! It's hard to explain.

Anyway, I was happy I made it.

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Theater Wed Aug 13 2014

An Epic, Tragic Win: All Our Tragic

By Benjamin Cannon & Mike Ewing

What then is to be made of the Hypocrites' new stage production, All Our Tragic? This massive opus, comprising all 32 surviving Greek tragedy plays re-written and directed by Sean Graney, lasts a staggering 12 hours, including intermissions and meal breaks. Ben and Mike go the distance.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Aug 29 2014

The November Man, Frank, As Above/So Below, Love Is Strange, Life of Crime, Bound By Flesh, To Be Takei & Me and You

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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