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James Cotton

Primary Instrument: Harmonica

Born: July 1, 1935    

James Cotton is one of the all-time greats of the blues harmonica, and one of the last of the original Chicago musicians who played and recorded some of the most exciting blues music ever. Cotton's harmonica virtuosity is amazing, recognized for the power and precision of his playing. Cotton and his harmonica are still blazing a trail through the music world and his legacy continues to grow with each passing year, a testament to this enduring Bluesman.

Born in Tunica, Mississippi, in 1935, Cotton fell under the spell of the legendary Sonny Boy Williamson at the tender age of nine and quickly became his protégé. Over the course of six years, Cotton lived, worked and traveled with Williamson, eventually assimilating many of his signature licks. Cotton was in Memphis in the early ‘50s and landed a gig with Howlin’ Wolf, recording “Saddle My Pony” at Sun Studios. His breakthrough “Cotton Crop Blues” was released in 1954, and not long after, he began his 12-year association with Muddy Waters, when Waters passed through town looking for a harp player. Cotton landed the gig, and worked with Muddy on the road and in the studio, recording many of the seminal Chess sessions....
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Awards

Grammy Award, 1996 "Deep in the Blues" - Traditional Blues Album Inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, Memphis, TN, 2006 Inducted into Smithsonian Institution, 1991 Handy Award, 2003"35th Anniversary Jam" - Traditional Blues Album Handy Award, 2001, 1997 Traditional Male Artist of the Year Handy Award, 1997 Acoustic Album of the Year - "Deep In The Blues" Handy Award, 1991, 1987 Instrumentalist of the Year - Harmonica Handy Award, 1991 Contemporary Album of the Year - "Harp Attack" Premier Harmonica Player Award, 2000, 1999 Memphis Chapter of National Academy of Record Arts and Sciences Down Beat 45th Annual Critics Poll, 1997 "Deep in the Blues" - Blues Album of the Year Down Beat 62nd Annual Readers Poll, 1997 "Deep in the Blues" - Blues Album of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award, 2000 presented by the Pocono Blues Festival Blues Legend Award, 2002 presented by The New England Blues Society Howlin' Wolf Award, 2002 presented by The Blues Foundation Theresa Needham Blues Award, 1994 for outstanding service to the Blues community Honorary and Lifetime Member, 1993 of the Sonny Boy Blues Society

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