2012 Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival Saturday Mainstage Concert Preview

The cornerstone of the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival is the weeklong workshop, July 29 – August 5, 2012, where participants live and play with the bearers of acoustic blues traditions. On Saturday, August 4, we ask the renowned artist faculty to take the stage for an afternoon-long concert celebration of the blues.

The artists, selected by Artistic Director Daryl Davis, showcase the heart and soul of the blues, and this afternoon concert is one of the highlights of Centrum’s Summer Season.

A few of the artists who will be performing include (see end of post for full concert lineup):

The Rev. Robert B. Jones was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1956.  By the age of 17, Robert had already amassed a record collection of early blues and begun to teach himself guitar and harmonica.  By his mid-twenties, Robert was hosting an award winning radio show called “Blues From The Lowlands,” and, concentrating primarily on traditional acoustic blues, started performing at some of Detroit’s best music venues including the Soup Kitchen Saloon, The Ark, and Sully’s. Influenced by legendary bluesman Willie Dixon, Robert developed an educational program called, “Blues For Schools,” which has taken him into classrooms all over the country.

Tim Sparks started picking out tunes by ear on an old Stella flat top guitar during an illness that kept him out of school for a year. He taught himself to play the music he heard around him: traditional country blues and the gospel his grandmother played on piano in a small church in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He studied the classics with Segovia protégé Jesus Silva while continuing to play all kinds of music, increasingly turning to classic jazz for inspiration. He adapted compositions by Jelly Roll Morton, Scott Joplin, and Fats Waller to the guitar, frequently reducing piano arrangements to their essence. Sparks also found time to explore classical music, adapting Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite to the guitar, a work that has been cited as a significant contribution to solo guitar literature. In recent years, Sparks’ musical focus has come full circle, returning to the country blues and classic jazz that served as a springboard for his worldwide guitar explorations.

Boogie Woogie piano phenom Chase Garrett started playing piano at age nine and began playing professionally by age 17. He has performed all across the U.S. and Europe alongside some of today’s best boogie woogie, blues and jazz pianists such as Axel Zwingenberger, Joachim Schumacher, Julian Phillips and Michael Kaeshammer. Deeply influenced by Albert Ammons, Meade ‘Lux’ Lewis, Otis Spann, Fats Waller and Oscar Peterson, Chase’s playing moves seamlessly between boogie woogie, blues, jazz, stride and swing.

Routes of the Blues
Saturday, August 4, 2012, 1:30pm
McCurdy Pavilion

Reserved seating: $36/$26/$18 (processing fee applies)
18 and under: free

  • Centrum Gospel Choir — Angela Hill, Director With special guest Rev. Robert B. Jones
    The Inspiration for the Blues came from the Gospel tradition.
  • Orville Johnson and Grant Dermody
    Two Northwest treasures on Dobro and Harmonica
  • Tim Sparks
    Master fingerstyle guitarist performs rags and more
  • Louisiana Blues with Sunpie Barnes, Arthur Migliazza, Mark Brooks, and Jimmi Mayes
    Blues from the Big Easy


  • Chase Garrett
    Extraordinary boogie woogie piano phenom
  • Robert Belfour and Phil Wiggins
    The country blues guitar legend is joined by the world-renowned harmonica virtuoso
  • Chicago Blues with Billy Flynn, Dean Mueller, Jimmi Mayes, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, Daryl Davis, and Angela Hill
    The Destination of the Blues from the Delta
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