CHICAGO — Boogie with Magic Sam, turn back the hands of time with Tyrone Davis, and howl with the Wolf as blues singer/bandleader Larry Taylor pays tribute to these and other West Side blues and soul stars. His show on Friday Aug. 25, at 7 – 8:30 p.m. at the Columbus Park Refectory, 5701 West Jackson Blvd., is free for all ages. It’s part of a monthly summer concert series presented by Chicago West Community Music Center.

The West Side is known for the toughest, most rhythmic and beautiful blues and soul music from the 1960s on. Howlin’ Wolf, Magic Sam, Tyrone Davis and many more giants once held court in the many clubs and lounges up and down Madison Street and Roosevelt Road. 

Singer and bandleader Larry Taylor lives on the West Side today and has played this music for 40 years. He grew up in the area with musical parents: singer Vera Taylor and VeeJay recording artist and guitarist Eddie Taylor Sr., best known for crafting the “lump” rhythm behind Jimmy Reed. Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, and Muddy Waters were among frequent guests in their house.  

During the late 1970s, 80s and 90s  Larry Taylor played drums with many Chicago legends including John Lee Hooker, Otis Clay, Junior Wells and Albert King, as well as with his parents and musical Taylor brothers and sisters. He formed his own band in the early 2000s, and his goal is to pass this powerful music on to new generations. His recordings employ many of his fellow West and South Side musicians. More at his website

Howard Sandifer, director of CWCMC, explained, “We want to present concerts highlighting African American leadership in jazz, R&B, Broadway, and blues genres, and display the talent we have in the West Side area.”  

The other three concerts in the Friday series included Michael Ross and Tyrone Hines, who performed May 26  in  “Urban Jazz Giants: Tribute to George Benson and Grover Washington Jr. ; singer Carl King in a “Keep on Pushin'” tribute to Curtis Mayfield Jun3 30; and guitarist/composer Felton Offard in “Soul of Broadway” July 28. 

The CWCMC offers classes in technique, performance and even music business.  It’s all aimed at helping students fill the gap between music studies as they are on the West Side vs. more advantaged communities.  The programs not only help students develop artistic skills and do better in school; they help teaching artists keep up with the best practices in arts learning.

Chicago West Community Music Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to harness the creative potential of individuals through education to inspire artistic and cultural expression in such a way that we help foster positive relationships across neighborhood lines. More information on these programs at CWCMC’s website: .

More music is coming to Columbus Park this month!  On Friday Sept. 1, Ike Carothers and Ald. Chris Taliaferro are sponsoring the third annual Blues Fest from 6 to 10 p.m. in Columbus Park, featuring Sharon Monique and the West End 40.


"Barrelhouse Bonni" McKeown, the author of "West Side Blues Blog," has played piano and written about blues music for over 15 years.  She has led classes for young and old on...