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Mr. Jones' Classroom

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Mali to Michigan Avenue

Fernando Jones’ Master Class on Zoom

Brought to You by the Music Center at Columbia College Chicago

Reading Assignment (Click to download)

Order I Was There When The Blues Was Red  Hot. (Click Here)

From Bill Boris, Associate Chair

Columbia College Chicago, Music Department

Guitar and Bass Players: Fernando Jones will be presenting a Blues master class, "Mali to Michigan Avenue", which will focus on the history of Blues and Blues guitar on Friday, Oct. 16, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm via Zoom. There will be a waiting room and I will admit everyone. Attendance is required for all guitarists enrolled in private lessons, but all are welcome! Fernando created "Blues Camp" and for the past 11 years has hosted these camps all over the world. He has written and published on the history of Blues and is one of the country's foremost advocates for Blues and its central role in American culture. 

For guitar players in private lessons: Attending these workshops is required and part of your grade. Last week, only about a third of guitar players in private lessons attended the vocal/guitar workshop; I take attendance at the workshops and forward the attendance sheet to your instructors, and your attendance (or lack of attendance) affects your grade. The required master classes and workshops are clearly listed in your syllabus. I hope to see you all there on Friday.

Lecture Overview and Prerequisites 

Section 1: Historic Overview (30 Minutes)

Mindset for the Zoom lecture: A mature audience of musicians willing to learn truth of America and it’s roots music, Blues, in pursuit of a better understanding what the Blues is; and most importantly – why it exists and should be preserved and performed with respect and a accountability of our ancestors who made it possible to Rock and Roll.

I. What is the Blues? Why does it exist?

Presentation: A combination of videos, sound recordings and commentary

a. Race / Class / Supremacy

• The Europe / Africa Slave Trade (1600s) to Juneteenth Celebration (1865)               

b. Understanding of the Blues as a music and culture?

• The Blues: Ancient Timbuktu, Mali Roots to The Chicago Blues

c. Mr. Jones’ Students (Projects Demonstrating excellence)

• Mississippi Delta Trip

• Chicago Record Companies and Night Clubs

Q&A (5 minutes)      

I. Question and Answer session between Jones and audience with Prof. Boris

a. Questions chosen by moderator from “Chat"       

Section 2: Chicago Blues Guitar & Bass (45 minutes)

a. Bass and Guitar Tips

• Commentary on Comping, Soloing and Grooving

Q&A (5 minutes)      

I. Question and Answer session between Jones and audience with Prof. Boris

a. Questions chosen by moderator from “Chat"       

Section 3: Over-all Q&A (10 minutes)

Pre-Requisite Assignments

Order Book: I Was There When The Blues Was Red  Hot.

(Click Here)

Listen to “Crazy Blues” by Mamie Smith

Listen to "Say it Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud)" by James Brown

Watch "Us vs. Them" (Gov. George Wallace)

Watch "War" by Bob Marley

Listen to Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley

Be familiar with these terms below:




Roots Music

Roots of the Blues

African Slavery Trading  (King James of England)

The Middle Passage


Timbuktu, Mali

Mississippi Delta


Great Migration (American)

Juneteenth Celebration

Emancipation Proclamation

United State Constitution

The Civil War

People and Places

Gov. George Wallace

Jefferson Davis

Abraham Lincoln

Muddy Waters

Howlin’ Wolf

KoKo Taylor

Chess Records

Vee-Jay Records


All can be found and listened to or viewed for educational purposes on YouTube

"Rolling Stone" by Muddy Waters

"Respect Yourself" by the Staples Singers