Photo by Glenn Kaupert
Humanitarian | Musician | Educator
If one word could describe this "creative" named Fernando Jones it would be rare. He has been playing the Blues on the guitar ever since he was four years old, and is still going strong. This world-class, internationally known American Bluesman, educator and songwriter was born to loving Mississippi parents on the Southside of Chicago. They were advocates for education and the arts. Jones is one of a few living African American Bluesmen to have a tribute album of his compositions done by a band on a different continent; Jona's Blues Band of Rome, Italy is the group.
Jones has performed his compositions from basement parties to the University of Hawaii to The Smithsonian Institute to the Conservatory of Music in Pescara, Italy to nightclubs in Havana, Cuba. Here is a sample of his scholarly writing in the Journal of Popular Music Studies and awards. In January 2020, the National Association of Music Merchants invited him to host a lecture on the impact of Blues Pedagogy. As a lecturer Fernando Jones has established Blues Camps for youths on the continents of Asia, Europe, North America and the Caribbean island of Cuba. Here's an interview on him done by The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.
As evident of his work(s) demonstrate; here’s why Fernando Jones, a Keeping the Blues Alive Award recipient and Chicago Blues Hall of Fame member is worth investing in as a performer, lecturer and/or an artist-in-residence. Fernando Jones is original in his approach to music with a focus on the Blues and the performing arts.
Inspired by his older brothers, Foree, Marvin and Greg, Jones taught himself how to play guitar when he was just four years old, and has been playing ever since. Today, he’s still an internationally travelled performer and educator; as a bandleader Fernando Jones & My Band! is a sharp dressed, raw guitar driven original sounding power trio. Their sound is full, sexy, and always evolving. Whether playing alone in someone's living room or with his band in concert, each performance is entertaining and engaging among multigenerational audiences. He has no tricks or gimmicks and is easy to work with and is one of the most complete Bluesmen and scholars of his generation.
Jones is on faculty in the Music Department at Columbia College Chicago as the founding Blues Ensemble director. There, his Blues Camp for student musicians ages 12 to 18 is in-residence. He also holds memberships with the American Federation of Musicians (Local 10 - 208), Broadcast Music, Inc. (songwriter and publisher), The Chicago (IL) Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated (Lifetime Membership).
Fernando Jones has presented professional development workshops for Blues Camp International, FDIC, Nike marketing team, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE), Columbia College Chicago, The NAMM Show (National Association of Music Merchants), Chicago Public School (CPS) and The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
“I work on my craft and my complete package every single day. I perform every show as if it were Carnegie Hall -- even if it’s a gift of my time in a classroom, retirement home, front porch in Mississippi, a TV show or on stage for thousands of dollars. My music and I are one. Being born 5 months premature, one looks at life differently. Therefore, each day is a lifetime achievement award proven earned the following day.”
- Fernando Jones
"Fernando is one in a million trying to get to the bottom of the barrel of the Blues.”
- Buddy Guy
Jones is the go-to-guy for all things Blues when the City of Chicago needs a music ambassador. Whether playing alone in someone's living room or with his band in concert, each performance is entertaining and engaging among multi-generational audiences. He has tricks or gimmicks and is easy to work with and is one of the most complete Bluesmen and scholars of his generation. Sample of his scholarly writing (Journal of Popular Music).
From books to films, from sound recordings to theatrical productions, his contributions to this American art form have been paramount. Jones has been recognized and celebrated by his peers and the press as being on the "cutting edge" of the Blues. He adds new blood and a new perspective to its legacy, musically and culturally. As a composer, he has taken great pride in performing his original works publicly to help insure the evolutionary development of this movement.
While refuting the many negative stereotypes that haunt the Blues, he is on a mission to show its beauty through academic implementations, lectures, and concerts. As a result, Jones' hands were photographed by National Geographic Magazine. His book, I Was There When The Blues Was Red Hot, has been used as a resource by the likes of the Discovery Channel, Newsweek, the Chicago Tribune, Living Blues Magazine, London Times, and Al-Jazeera. Radio stations such as ABC, BBC, CBS, CLTV, NBC, WTTW, NPR, WGN and PBS have celebrated him for his playing style and unique perspective on the status of Black music in America. He and his music have been featured in the Travel Channel’s “America the Wright Way” Series (worldwide broadcast, seen in over 125 million households), The Ryder Cup (Chicago host), Eric Clapton’s Crossroads DVD, ABC7’s "Someone You Should Know” Dateline NBC, Downbeat Magazine's Musicians Studio and countless international music documentaries.
As a music festival producer, Fernando Jones created the first Blues Festival at the University of Illinois at Chicago while a sophomore in the Spring of 1984 and produced it in February 1985 — featuring his eldest brother Foree Superstar, Junior Wells, Magic Slim, and Buddy Guy.
Strategic partnerships and professional affiliations: Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity (Life Membership), American Federation of Musicians (Local 10-208), Fender Musical Instruments, Jim Dunlop, D'Addario, Real Men Cook, The Chicago Blues Festival Advisory Board, NABSE and Shure.
Charitable Giving Real Men Cook Charities, Guide Right Chicago, The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Edward G. Irvin Foundation and more, and church and civic organizations.
• Chicago Defender Men of Excellence Award recipient
• Chicago Blues Hall of Fame Inductee
• "Blues Kids Day(s)" proclamations from: the City of Chicago
• California Legislature Assembly Certificate of Recognition
• City of Riverside, CA Proclamation to Recognize and Honor
• State of California Senate Certificate of Recognition
• Corona, CA Blues Day Proclamation
• State of Illinois Proclamation for a Blues Day
• Keeping the Blues Alive Award recipient
• Teacher of the year finalist (Columbia College Chicago, 2006)
• Life Membership with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated
• • Allstate Grant Recipient for Blues Camp
Photo by Glenn Kaupert