Janiva Magness

Posted December 27, 2007 in

It ain’t exactly a cake walk to be a white chick blues singer, but in the case of  sultry chanteuse Janiva Magness, skin tone scarcely counts at all. First thing, Magness was born and raised in Detroit, not only one of the toughest cities in all the land, but also home to a long-established blues tradition that nurtured such stellar Rhythm & Blues talents as Jackie Wilson and Andre Williams–and was also the break-out site for blues sisters like LaVern Baker and Della Reese (yeah, yeah long before all that TV "Angel" stuff). Magness marinated her childhood soul in the rich blue airwaves of Motor City, and, as fate would have it, she needed something to hang onto—by sixteen she was an emancipated minor with a taste for dope, a baby up for adoption and both parents checked out by their respective suicides. What the hell else could she do but start singing the blues? With talent to burn, the youthful vocalist quickly distinguished herself, haunting all the joints from Motown to Chicago to Minneapolis, and, based in Phoenix, after an wildly successful alliance with Sam Cooke’s longtime musical director Bob Tate, Magness came into her own as natural fact phenom. The Los Angeles-based stunner has also racked up just about award and accolade in the blues field, and once you hear her sing, it’s easy to see why. She works a hot, taut, jazz-informed brand of  communicative blues, one infused with a rich mixture of intimate, erotic atmospherics and crafty understatement. Classy and sassy, Magness is certain to ring in the New Year with memorable verve. (Jonny Whiteside)

Janiva Magness performing at Cielo Restaurant, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon, (800) 252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com; Monday, December 31, 8pm


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