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About Fernando Jones
1964, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Reputedly, Jones began playing guitar and writing songs at the age of four; certainly, he was very much aware of the blues from an early age. An older brother was a blues performer and a cousin, Lefty Dizz, was a professional blues guitarist. In part through the latter, Jones became acquainted with bluesmen, picking up concepts, technique and a deep and abiding interest in the history of the blues. He studied at the University of Illinois, Chicago, where he co-produced blues concerts, graduating in 1987. He then began developing a career that ranges through various facets of the performing arts. In addition to playing and singing in clubs and at festivals, Jones has also appeared often on television. He is also a writer and teacher. In the former capacity, he is the author of a 1989 memoir, which he later adapted for the stage. As a teacher he has lectured extensively and in the early 00s was attached to the faculty at Columbia College, working on a blues course. He is also founder of Blues Kids of America, an organization aimed at widening understanding of the role and content of the blues.
Jones’ interest in the origins of the blues has not mired him in the past. He is outspoken in his belief that the blues needs to grow and he has continued to write original music throughout his career, leading to his latter-day repertoire being constructed almost entirely from his own compositions. Thus, when he adapted his memoir as a stage play with music, under the title, I Was There When The Blues Was Red Hot!, the storyline was historically accurate while the music was original. The play was presented in Chicago and was highly praised by audiences and critics and he was nominated for a Black Theatre Alliance Award.
- Chicago, IL