Our Local Heroes

BIG PETE PEARSON

Big Pete Pearson is an internationally recognized blues recording artist who has barely left the stage in the past 50 years. His voice is as big as stature; he screams and hollers the blues with an unbridled passion only equal to some of the greatest blues legends of the past. Before arriving in Phoenix; Pete made a name for himself in Texas, singing with TD Bell and the Cadillac’s and helping to jumpstart the careers of Blues Boy Hubbard and his cousin, WC Clark. Pete is famous in his hometown of Phoenix where he is recognized as the King of Arizona Blues. He’s in the Blues Hall of Fame, and he’s released 6 major solo albums, he writes most of his own songs, he’s won numerous awards, and performed with some the biggest stars in the Blues including Big Joe Turner, BB King, T-Bone Walker, Etta James, Little Junior Parker, Johnny Ace, and Big Mama Thornton.

HANS OLSON

The internationally renowned bluesman is famous in his home state of Arizona where he’s inducted in the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame, received a Newtimes Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award, and named as one of the Top 25 most influential musicians in Arizona by the Phoenix Magazine. Hans is one of the founding members of the Phoenix Blues Society. During his career, Hans has released over 15 albums and performed with hundreds of top blues artist which included a national tour with the legendary Brownie McGhee. He is endorsed by Lee Oscar Harmonica’s and his music has been featured on a dozen film soundtracks including the opening theme song for the Burt Reynolds TV show, Evening Shade. He is currently signed to Fervor Records.

CHICO CHISM

Napoleon “Chico” Chism was born on a riverboat outside of Shreveport, Louisiana. During his high school days at Booker T. Washington he was the drummer for the house band that regularly appeared on Shreveport’s first black TV program, the Jockey Jim Sepia Showcase on Channel 3. Later, he recorded in 1957 as a drummer for T.V. Slim on the original version of “Flat Foot Sam” on the Clif Record label which became a regional hit record. Then in 1959, but this time as a front man, he recorded the song “Hot Tamales and Bar-B-Que.” Chico relocated to Chicago where he eventually found a place as the Howlin’ Wolf’s last drummer and recorded historical records with Eddie Shaw, Willie Kent and Sunnyland Slim. He relocated to Phoenix in 1986 and became a huge part of its blues community, winning abundant fame and celebrity status, and becoming a teacher to many budding blues players. He was a fixture at the Rhythm Room and became a first call session drummer for some legendary Phoenix sessions. He died at the age of 79 from the effects of a stroke, he suffered of 2002. In 2015 he was featured in an exhibition at the Tempe History Museum called “Tempe Sound.” Also in 2015, the Chico Chism Memorial Studio was opened by Drew Verbis and Dan Duregger. 

BOB CORRITORE

Bob Corritore is one of the most active and highly regarded blues harmonica players on the scene today. He has recorded more commercial albums than any other Phoenix Blues musician and is regularly acknowledged as on the most important musicians in Arizona. His style passionately carries forward the old school of playing that Corritore learned as a young man directly from many of original pioneers of Chicago Blues. His sympathetic, yet fiery harmonica playing is featured on over 50 releases to date, on labels such as HighTone, HMG, Blue Witch, Blind Pig, Earwig, Ruf, Putumayo, Random Chance, and the VizzTone Label Group and the great Delta Groove label, which he is currently signed to. Many of Bob’s acclaimed releases have been nominated or winners for various Handy, Grammy, and Blues Music Awards and Blues Blast Music Awards. 

DAVE RILEY

Famed bluesman Dave Riley was born in Mississippi, where he learned guitar from Old Man Brooks and would occasionally run into family-friends Bobby Rush and Pops Staples before moving to Chicago as a teen. He honed his professional blues skills as a member of the Jelly Roll Kings with the late great Frank Frost and Sam Carr. Later, he toured extensively with Sam Carr whose is featured on Riley’s first critically acclaimed solo recording for the Fedora label. He’s a Vietnam vet and retired prison guard. He’s released three critically acclaimed albums with Chicago Harmonica Master and renowned producer, Bob Corritore. 

Supporting blues in our community since 1989

THE PHOENIX BLUES SOCIETY HAS A LONG HISTORY OF SUPPORTING BLUES IN OUR VIBRANT COMMUNITY. THIS INCLUDES HOSTING EVENTS, SPONSORING MUSICIANS, BLUES IN SCHOOLS AND MORE.

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