Jazz @ the Library - West Fresno Blues - June 16th 2009


mercydeeWest Fresno Blues: The Untold Story

Local blues and jazz educator Roger Gonzales hosts a talk on West Fresno Blues as the June installment of the Jazz @ the Library series, Tuesday June 16th at 7:00 PM at the Woodward Park Regional Library at 7:00 PM. The post WWII Blues scene in Fresno had a distinctive sound that contributed greatly to the West Coast Blues sound.  While the two major cities of LA and Oakland/SF offered a much more urban or “big city” sound to the Blues, Fresno offered a much more rural “down home” feel to the Blues, which is still found in Fresno Blues to this day.  Some of the pioneers of that sound still live and perform in Fresno to this day and will be featured in the upcoming presentation at the Woodward Park Library.     This presentation is about the Fresno Blues scene that took place on the west side of the city.  The blues scene consisted primarily of a network of Juke Joints that were an important part of California’s version of a Chitlin’ Circuit.  These clubs provided African American musicians a safe place to perform during the unfortunate years of segregation in the United States.  Musicians traveling between LA and SF could also be found performing in one of West Fresno’s juke joints such as the Jericho Café, Loretta’s Inn or Wagner’s.  But along with the traveling bluesmen from the two major cities were the local bluesmen that created that down home feel so distinctive to Fresno’s sound.  Performers like Sidney Maidens, Mercy Dee Walton and Hosea Leavy worked and lived in Fresno a were a major influence to the growth of the music.   The event will also feature live music from Fresno blues legends, Ed Bruke and Bobby Logan.

Tuesday June 16th 2009 - 7:00 PM Woodward Park Regional Library 944 E Perrin Ave (Champlain & Perrin)