Blues music has a way of
bringing people together. On a California day in 1997, friends that found each other
through their love of Blues music, met at Bean Hollow State Beach. They began to
talk about the devastating year it had been for the blues community.
Many Blues artists became seriously ill and
many passed away that year. Many dollars and volunteer hours were donated to the
fund-raisers for blues artists and their families. Everywhere there was a worthy
cause, yet, there wasn't a centralized resource or organization to
address the types of issues that effect the health and well-being of blues artists.
These friends dedicated themselves to working
together on special projects:
a) to provide a catalyst to add vitality to the blues music scene in the general San
Francisco Bay to Monterey area and
b) to honor internationally acclaimed bluesman Luther Allison's contribution to the blues
community and to keep his memory alive by creating The Luther Allison Endowment Fund.
This fund, the first of the Forever Blues
Projects, is housed within the Blues Community Foundation of Chicago, and is specifically
designed to address the systemic challenges facing blues musicians by harnessing human and
financial resources into a centralized resource.
The kickoff party for establishing the fund
was presented under the guise of a 50th Birthday Party for Barbara "Toez"
Hammerman. An expert in the field of of endowment funding and a patron of blues music,
Barbara chose a "road tour" party theme. Touted as Toez Jam Tour '97, the gatherings gave
Barbara an opportunity to announce her creation of the Luther Allison Endowment
Fund. Hundreds attended these events nationwide, and all were very
successful. The final destination on the Toez Jam
Tour '97 was URBC,but it was just the beginning of good things to come!
While the final TJT'97 "gig" aboard
the Ultimate Rhythm and Blues Cruise is history, the Legacy of Luther Allison lives on
through his music and the tribute to the man and his music embodied in the creation of
this PERMANENT fund.
Barbara extends her heartfelt thanks to Roger
Naber, George Myers (now deceased), Marty Adler, Susan Antone, Bill Welch, Phil Lewis,
Carol and Hal Yeagy, Bill Gilmore, Ron and Tim Duarte, Buddy Fox, and Brad and Michael
Winter, and the venue coordinators, Sally Upshaw (NYC) and John Mintz (Austin) for helping
to make our vision a reality.
Special thanks for early support and
encouragement to Rocky Brown, Bruce Iglauer and Miki Mulvehill.