Jazz Houston Mourns Passing of Chuck Berry


Jazz Houston Remembers Rock-and-Roll Great Chuck Berry and Honors His Life’s Work as a Pioneering Musician Who Incorporated Jazz and the Blues into His Groundbreaking Musical Style.

HOUSTON, Month, Day 2017 – Jazz Houston remembers the influence and mastery of legendary rock-and-roller Chuck Berry as it becomes only the nation’s second jazz arts group to host a full-time resident jazz orchestra. Founded on the philosophy that jazz has the power to change lives and communities, Jazz Houston is dedicated to the global cultivation and promotion of jazz through performance and education.

Berry was, in his own way, an educator and performer who created a distinct style founded on his early exposure to jazz and the blues. Growing up in segregated St. Louis, he found his earliest musical exposure at church and school. He eventually created his own sound that appealed across racial lines and influence generations of musicians playing in many genres.

Taking his sound to Chicago, Berry’s first record deal came after a referral from one of his idols, the incomparable Muddy Waters. “Supporting fellow artists is part of the jazz tradition, and even though Chuck Berry moved from his musical roots to create a new genre, he understood the gravity of jazz and the blues on his work,” said Vincent Gardner, Artistic Director at Jazz Houston.

Other influences on the father of rock-and-roll were T-Bone Walker, Charlie Christian, and Louis Jordan. Berry’s unquestionably American style of music melded Chicago blues, R&B, and Berry-stylized country guitar riffs. Always a supporter of local musicians, Berry made it his practice to play with local pick-up bands instead of traveling with his own band.

“His unmistakable guitar style and unforgettable performances left an indelible mark on everyone who heard his music. Whether you loved it or weren’t’ quite as fond, you never forgot Chuck Berry. And he influenced every musician who heard him play,” Gardner said. He’s the perfect example of how musical genres are fluid, moving in and out of each other, sometimes coming together to create something unexpected and unique.

Jackie Edwards


About Jazz Houston

Jazz Houston is a performing arts organization dedicated to the global cultivation and promotion of jazz through performance and education. Our staff is committed to jazz at the highest level, supporting education and performance with the ultimate goal of enriching the lives of the individuals and communities with which we interact. The Jazz Houston Orchestra, only the second full-time resident group in the US, showcases the diverse musical and cultural heritage of Houston and incorporates other musical genres from the community. At Jazz Houston, we believe that there can only be positive outcomes when people of all ages experience jazz.


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