Blue at the Lucerna Music Bar, Prague, 1988
|Birth name||James Whiting|
December 16, 1949 |
Harlem, New York City, United States
|Occupation(s)||Harmonicist, singer, songwriter|
|Years active||Late 1960s–present|
In the mid-1970s, Blue played as a session musician on Johnny Shines' Too Wet to Plow (1975) and with Roosevelt Sykes. While in the company of the latter, he met Louisiana Red, and the two toured and recorded in 1978.
Taking advice from Memphis Slim, in the late 1970s Blue traveled to Paris, France. According to Ronnie Wood, Blue was found by Mick Jagger busking on the city streets. This led to him playing on several of the tracks on The Rolling Stones' Some Girls album: "Some Girls", "Send It to Me" and "Miss You".
Trombonist Mike Zwerin backed Blue on his solo debut album, Crossroads (1979). Following the release of his From Chicago to Paris (1982), Blue joined Willie Dixon's Chicago Blues All Stars. In 1984, Blue's track "Another Man Done Gone", appeared on the compilation album Blues Explosion. It won a Grammy in 1985 for Best Traditional Blues Album.
He played on the album Down Too Long, by Southside Denny and the Skintones, in 1988.
His most recent album Thresold, was released by Beeble Music on January 26, 2010.
Writing in the Chicago Tribune, music critic Howard Reich said, "There's no mistaking Sugar Blue incendiary virtuosity. The speed and ferosity of his playing are matched by its inventiveness, with Blue packing nearly every phrase with trills, glissandos, clusters and chords. At times, it sounds as if two harps were working at once... intense, melodically ornate, punctuated by growls and swooping pitches, it's the sound of a musician who transcends the limitations of his instrument."
|1978||Red, Funk and Blue||Black Panther||BP1001||Duo with Louisiana Red|
|1979||King Bee||JSP||Duo with Louisiana Red|
|1980||Crossroads||Blue Silver||BS 3004||France, recorded 1979|
|1982||From Chicago to Paris||Blue Silver||BS 3012/3332||France, recorded 1980 with Slim Pezin, Earl Howell|
|1984||High Voltage Blues||JSP||1081||with Louisiana Red|
|1991||Absolutely Blue||Seven Seas/King||KICP 341||Japan, recorded 1982|
|1995||In Your Eyes||Alligator||4831|
|2006||Right Now||Kozel||Switzerland, George Kay Band featuring Sugar Blue|
Compilations and reissues
|1979||Stars of the Streets||Whale Productions / Egg Records (France)||Egg 900582 Compilation||Performances of several street musicians were recorded live outdoors in the streets and parks of New York City. Track 1 : "Pontiac Blues" by Sugar Blue|
|1980||Jazz Gala '80||Kingdom Jazz||Gate 7010||Recorded at the Palm Beach Casino, Cannes, France|
|1984||Blues Explosion||Atlantic||80149||Grammy winner, recorded live at Montreux|
|1992||From Paris to Chicago||EPM Blues Collection||756||Reissue of Crossroads and From Chicago to Paris|
|1998||The Blues Spectrum of Louisiana Red||JSP||UK recording|
|2007||Another Man Done Gone||WNTS/Believe Digital||MP3 download||Reissue of Crossroads and From Chicago to Paris|
- List of harmonica blues musicians
- List of Chicago blues musicians
- List of contemporary blues musicians
- List of harmonicists
- "Calendar/December 16". Nfo.net / Big Bands Database Plus. January 10, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
- Diana Olson (March 19, 2008). "Sugar Blue". Skope Entertainment Inc. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
- "Sugar Blue, Blues, Harmonica". Sugar-blue.com. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
- Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. p. 170. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
- Wood, Ronnie (13 August 2013). "Ronnie Wood talks about Sugar Blue and the harmonica". YouTube. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
- "Blues Grammy award winners by year". Mojohand.com. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
- "Sugar Blue | Discography". AllMusic. December 16, 1949. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
- "Southside Denny And The Skintones – Down Too Long". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2015-10-08.
- "Sugar Blue CD Preview". Blues.about.com. October 30, 2009. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
- "Absolutely Blue". Bidders.co.jp. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
- G.Heinlein & François Ziegler (March 2004). "EPM Records Checklist". Jazzlabels.klacto.net. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
- "Blues Explosion – Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-29.