CULTURE

A harmonica great at the Half Note

The Half Note Jazz Club continues its non-stop winter season concert activity with Chicago-based blues act the Matthew Skoller Band, which returns to Greece following previous performances for a one-week residency at the venue beginning tonight. Frontman Skoller and his band of seasoned musicians are at the forefront of a new generation of players that emerged from Chicago’s world-renowned and highly competitive blues scene. Skoller, a harmonica player and vocalist, distinguished himself amid his hometown’s circuit on the strength of his virtuosity and showmanship, as well as his smooth and powerful vocal style. Skoller moved to Chicago close to two decades ago as an already mature harmonica player. His skill and high-energy style soon began drawing various musicians. He collaborated as a band member with various acts, among them Jimmy Rodgers and Big Time Sarah. Yet, despite his success working with others, Skoller felt the urge to form his own combo, which he launched a little over a decade ago. In October 1996, the band impressed judges enough to win a prize at the International Blues Talent Competition, an event organized by the Blues Foundation in Memphis. Also that year, the Matthew Skoller Blues Band released its first album, «Bone to Pick with You,» featuring primarily original material from Skoller, his brother, guitarist Larry Skoller, and Jim Liban, a Wisconsin-based songwriter. In the recent past, the combo has been a frequent and popular visitor to Greece. The Matthew Skoller Blues Band’s series of shows at the Half Note will be followed by a week of shows from Deborah Davis between November 26 and December 2. Davis, a gifted singer with a warm and sultry voice has proven versatile delivering jazz, classical, gospel, pop, country, R&B, hip-hop and even commercial jingles.