Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

What makes someone a Chicago artist?

| 6 Comments | No TrackBacks

In response to my post about the Grammys slighting Chicago's musical giants, a reader who happens to be Herbie Hancock's publicist sent in the following. All due respect to the man who gave us "Rockit," but Hancock has never been widely identified as "a Chicago artist" -- not in the way Smashing Pumpkins or Kayne West or Curtis Mayfield or Muddy Waters has. But I'm certainly open to hearing what readers think.

Your Grammy post and Herbie Hancock
"Nancie S. Martin"

Hi Jim,

I enjoyed your "Grammy Fun Part Two" post.

But you apparently aren't aware that our client Herbie Hancock, winner of 10
Grammys and nominated for three this year, was born in Chicago and was a
child piano prodigy who performed a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago
Symphony Orchestra at age 11. You could look it up (at,
for instance).

So go ahead and claim him. It'll up Chicago's total Grammy count, and if he
wins for Album of the Year it'll change your perspective on the Big Four.

Best regards,

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:


OK, I love jazz, and I love Herbie. But Herbie moved to NYC when he ws with Miles, and he has been based on the west coast since the 70's. If he made Chicago his base than I would say yes. Now I know he was a Chicago artist during his early Blue Note days. But I have never considered him a Chicago artist. I have a hard time thinking of Chicago as Chicago artists, they moved to L.A. before they became famous, and the "new" guys have never lived in Chicago. Only Peter Cetera makes several trips back to Chi every year. But no I have never considered Herbie a Chicago artist.

The artist must have lived here and struggled here while getting that first major label album, if not longer, to be a Chicago artist. One can move elsewhere and be formerly from Chicago, but if they want to be known as a Chicago artist they must maintain at least a residence here.

Yeah, I'm a big Herbie fan, but being a "Chicago" artist is more than growing up here.

I believe Kurt Elling has been nominated several times, but no cigar.

I think it would be ok to claim Herbie and Chaka
as a son and daughter of Chicago, they are only some of our more incredible talents. For crapsake, if we are going to hold this BS up as a criteria - all the bands that move here from out of state are null and void. Gimmie a break. Not to mention, I haven't seen much of Kanye or Common on the local scene, since they packed up and moved to the coast.

Now we are going to have transplants tell us -
what is and what is not Chicago? Having been born and raised here, with my family going back 4 generations on the southside, I will go out on a limb and give Herbie my approval for being a product of Chicago.

I lived in Chicago for 7 years but was born in Indianapolis. I consider myself a Chicago musician although my feelings wouldn't be hurt if nobody else did. I played most of the clubs, was involved in the scene, and still continue to perform there.

Hopefully that will result in some Grammy nominations someday. Guess I'll need to perform there first.

Someone who is born in Chicago and performed there, and influenced musicians there - I would think Chicago would be proud to claim Herbie Hancock.

Dude, I know the guy is a little bit conflicted.
One minute he is singing "I believe I can fly" and the next he is singing "Move your body like a snake"

But you forgot to mention R. Kelly in your piece "Give it up for Chicago"


LOL...Made you smile.

P.S. If Kanye wins Album of the Year. He should be nicked named "The Phoenix" the dude has a way of turning tragedy into triumph. I just hope the album wins on its own merit and doesn't get the sympathy vote.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on February 6, 2008 1:36 PM.

Lez not Led was the previous entry in this blog.

From Galaxie 500 to Luna to plain ol' Dean (& Britta) is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.