Shot at Famous Dave’s BBQ and Blues Fest @ Peavey Plaza, Minneapolis, Minnesota, with my Canon Power Shot SX100IS. Photo manipulated via Dynamic Painter.
Born into a musical family in Chicago, Jimi Smith literally grew up in the business. His mother (Johnnie Mae Dunson) was a drummer and song writer with Jimmy Reed and a major force in shaping Chicago blues in the 1950’s. Jimi made his first recording at the age of eight and under the tutelage of Jimmy Reed, began playing guitar at the age of twelve. “I’m the only person that he actually sat down and taught how to play guitar,” said Jimi. As a teenager he toured with Reed from 1973-1975 playing the Ann Arbor Blues Festival and many clubs from Detroit to Chicago. At nineteen he relocated to Minneapolis creating an immediate impact on the burgeoning blues scene. After first playing with Big Walter Smith (no relation although Jimi considers him to be a surrogate father figure), Jimi played with Lynwood Slim, the R-Section, True Blue, The Rhythm Doctors and Famous Dave’s All-Stars as well as back-up to many well know blues musicians like Etta James, Otis Rush and Albert King. As his reputation continued to grow, as being one of the finest blues guitarists in the area, Jimi formed a new group, The Prime Time Players, made up of seasoned fellow musicians Donald “Hye Pocket” Robertson (drums), Mick Massof (bass) and Michael Pendergast (keyboards). With the release of their outstanding debut album “Give Me Wings,” recorded live at Blues Alley in 1998, Jimi Smith and the Prime Time Players are no longer one of the best kept secrets on the Twin Cities blues scene. They are now creating waves and generating quite a buzz with blues fans and professionals across the country. When Jimi Smith and the Prime Time Players take the stage, hang on to your hat because it’s “Show Time.”