Randy Sabien with Corky Siegel Oct. 28

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11618117271764.jpg’, ”, ‘Randy Sabien’);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11618117371764.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘Blues harp and piano legend Corky Siegel joins jazz violinist Randy Sabien for an evening of musical magic Saturday, Oct. 28. ‘);

What do you get when you combine blues harp and piano legend Corky Siegel with jazz violinist extraordinaire Randy Sabien? An evening of improvisational musical magic!

It happens at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, at Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center, 415 N. Church St., Rockford.

Randy Sabien

National Public Radio’s “Jazz Profiles” dubbed Randy “The past, present and future of jazz violin.” His eclectic style started with classical violin lessons; later, he learned to play along with records by the Grateful Dead, Papa John Creach, John Taylor and others. He continued his study of classical music at the University of Illinois, augmenting his formal education with gigs as a country/rock fiddler. But he was most influenced by the great jazz violinist, Stephane Grappelli.

In 1977, Sabien enrolled at The Berklee College of Music in Boston. One year later, he returned to found and chair their new jazz string department. He stayed there another three years. After Berklee, he performed with and produced three albums for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jim Post. This led to violin, mandolin, guitar and piano accompaniment for many singer/songwriters. In between gigs, he worked on material for an album with his newly-formed jazz quintet.

In a Fog, an album of blues-based jazz, was released and sent out in 1981 by Flying Fish Records. Billboard, Jazz Times, The Christian Science Monitor and USA Today gave it glowing reviews. Sabien was also voted Artist Deserving Wider Recognition in downbeat magazine’s annual critics’ poll. He has since released another six titles with two more in the works. He now lives in northern Wisconsin, where he started his own record label, Fiddlehead Music.

Corky Siegel

Corky Siegel has earned an international reputation as one of the world’s great blues harmonica masters. He is a composer, blules pianist, singer/songwriter and recent winner of the Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest/Meet the Composer’s national award for chamber music composition and the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award for Music Composition.

His career began when he formed the legendary Siegel-Schwall Band that toured the major rock palaces and clubs in the ’60s and ’70s. He was introduced to the blues with his first steady engagement at Peppers, the internationally renowned blues club. He performed with blues masters such as Willie Dixon, Little Walter, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.

Siegel has 18 recordings and more than 35 reissues on: Vanguard, RCA, Alligator, and Gadfly Records, and two album projects for the prestigious classical label Deutsche Grammophon (DG). The DG release of William Russo’s “Three Pieces for Blues Band and Symphony Orchestra” featuring Corky’s blues band, Siegel-Schwall with Seiji Ozawa and the San Francisco Symphony, was a blockbuster in sales and had “an unprecedented inter-generational impact on the American music scene,” said music critic David Sckolnik. Siegel’s solo recorded performance of William Russo’s “Street Music with Seiji Ozawa and the San Francisco Symphony” won the French government’s Grand Prix du Disque, and received the Recording of Special Merit in Stereo Review for the LP and again in 1988 for the re-released compact disc.

Corky Siegel has written and performed works for Arthur Fiedler and the San Francisco Symphony, the Grant Park Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra for a Kennedy Center performance. His latest symphonic work, Blues for a Green Planet—Opus 10, was commissioned and performed with the Grant Park Symphony in Chicago. He also composed “Continuum” with Alwin Nikolias and Murray Louis.

The show is co-sponsored by WNIJ-FM. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Tickets are available at Rockford Area Arts Council, 713 E. State St., 963-6765; The Postal Shoppe, Edgebrook Center, 397-7301 and 2205 S. Perryville, 484-0940; The Kilt & Clover, 1314 N. Main St., 962-5458; or by mail with check and SASE, 10928 N. Main, Rockton, IL 61072. For Web information, call 964-2238.

From the Oct. 25-31, 2006, issue

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