france jean-baptiste
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france jean-baptiste

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Blues Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Congregation, Winslow, France Jean-Baptiste @ Reggie’s Music Joint (12/11)"

Well, Chicago. It appears that winter is finally upon us. I hope you are enjoying our winter wonderland as much as I am.

Saturday night, during the brief respite between the rain and the snow, when only the wind remained, Kari and I trudged, by Zipcar (an important detail for later), from our apartment on the north side to South State Street and the bar/”music venue” known as Reggie’s Music Joint.

Now, you may be asking yourself: “Why did he put music venue in quotes there? Was he rolling his eyes when he did that?”

Yes, Chicago. I was rolling my eyes.

Have you ever been to this place? I know you can’t answer me because you’re reading this on your HP tablet or what have you, but I’ll assume for most of you the answer is no. And I envy you for that. Reggie’s is an overly small, overcrowded shell of a music venue that makes Empty Bottle seem spacious by comparison. Why anyone would go to a show here, I don’t know.

The people were rude, the sound system was on par with someone driving past with a big bass speaker and the place reeked of marijuana.

If any of the servers from Reggie’s are reading this, please know that Kari and I pity you. They should have statues erected in your honor for having to put up with these, excuse my language here, assholes. A bunch of aging hipsters that work hard all week and wanna have a good time Saturday night was all I saw everywhere I looked. It actually made me a little sad to be there. If I ever remind anyone of these doofuses, you have my permission to put me out of my misery.

With that out of the way, let’s talk music.

When we arrived France Jean-Baptiste was already on stage with her band. They did a lot of covers, which was fine. She has a voice that lends itself to the genre pretty well. The highlight of the band was the guitarist, whose name I did not catch. He was shredding like a champ.

This seemed to be a recurring theme throughout the night. All three bands have dudes on axe that can hang with the best of them. Not in a “Man, this guy’s as good as Stevie and Prince combined!” But in a way like: “Holy cow! That guitar player is smokin’ them strings!”

The second band up was Winslow, who hail from Akron, Ohio. An interesting group, to say the least. Their first tune sounded like a Coheed and Cambria cover to me. Kari thought they were doing a take on the SportsCenter theme. Throughout their set I heard a lot of different things: Jethro Tull, Billy Joel, The Clash… but nothing that reminded me of a soul band, which is what they claim to be. When they did a cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine” I almost thought it was a joke. The singers voice, and I hope if he reads this he doesn’t get offended, is a bit too effeminate to sing that song. He was fine otherwise, but you need a nice, deep, powerful voice to do “Sunshine” justice, and this guy doesn’t have it right now.

Finally, after a couple hours of waiting, The Congregation took to the stage. And this is where my story takes a turn for the tragic. You see, dear readers, if you check out a Zipcar, you have to return it to where you got it from by the time you chose or pay a 50-dollar penalty. Well, seeing how the flyer said 9 p.m., I figured The Congregation would hit the stage about 11, maybe 11:15. In reality, they got on around midnight. The car had to be back by 1, which meant we couldn’t stay for the whole show. We only caught a few songs before we had to motor.

What we saw, we both liked. There were some issues with the mixing, so the vocals were a bit drowned out, but you could still feel the power coming from Gina Bloom’s voice. The band sounded just as good as they do on wax, if not better. I was most impressed with the horns’ ability to play in a very cramped space.

Again, the guitar work here was tremendous. Easily the best of the night, and that’s no simple task.

I wish we had been able to stay for the whole show, but on this particular evening it didn’t seem like things were going to fall in line for us anyway. I was really looking forward to this show, and it lived up to my expectations as far as what I actually saw. Maybe next time The Congregation will play at a place more suited for a big crowd, like Beat Kitchen, or, in a perfect world, Schubas.

I do recommend checking them out at any venue you can. Also, get their EP when you see them. It’s a great listen.

- Chicago Tunes

"Channel 11-At Last a Tribute to Etta James"

France Jean-Baptiste does Etta James! - Black Ensemble Theater

"Etta James music comes alive in a well sung review"

"Etta James sang blues to the bone, and when you lsiten to the terrific France Jean-Baptiste you can hear all those tough but vulnerable harmonies crunch anew in your ear." (See last paragraph.) - Chicago Tribune-Chris Jones


Without You ( Gotta Know Now) 2010

One & Only Love 2010



For over 15 years this multi-talented native Chicagoan has been involved in the entertainment industry. France Jean-Baptiste is an accomplished singer and actress. Her Haitian French heritage and life experiences infuse her music and stage presence with unparalleled feeling, body and soul. Her voice has been described as a diamond in the rough. She brings a big, rich energetic sound that audiences really respond to. Delivering every song with passion, you feel the emotion in every song.

Starting her career with musical theatre, she was told by a stage manager that she sounded very much like Etta James. Shortly after, she took a break from theatre and began working with a pianist and working the local piano bars for several years. She performed covers from every genre, covering especially 70's pop/rock and, of course, blues. She eventually ended up working with the Screaming Bluedogs and touring regionally for a short while covering the blues and original tunes.

As a seasoned performer in Chicago arts, France Jean-Baptiste is ready for exposure to a wider audience. She wants to share her life with her audience through her music.

France Jean-Baptiste is a great balladeer and stylist with silky smooth, jazzy soulful vocals . She is also a powerhouse combination of Etta James, Koko Taylor & Big Time Sarah and you can feel the pain and energy in her voice.Most definitely a powerhouse crowd pleaser.

Currently, France Jean-Baptiste has three of her very own original songs in the adult contemporary genre available on itunes and amazon.

Ed Michener, guitarist, grew up on the Southside of Chicago, taking up the guitar at the impressionable age of 12 when he found a second-hand guitar from the most valuable of resources - someone else's garbage! His passion for playing was primed by frequenting famous blues haunts like the Keys Piano Bar and the Tip on Inn on Western Avenue. With a style forged directly from stealing, begging, and borrowing blues licks from recordings of players like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Page, Buddy Guy, and Jeff Beck, Ed has lent his six-string talents most recently to the rhythm-and-blues-rock band Kimberly Kane and Big Trouble and the female-fronted modern rock band Dollhouse.

ChazPreston, bassist and his funky, fretless thump originated in the swamps of Florida. Having played bass for many years with blues-rock jambands in the Tampa and Los Angeles areas, he moved to Chicago in search of the wisdom of grad school and the soul of the blues.

Mark lira, drummer, born and raised NORTHSIDE of Chicago starting playing drums late in life but always had a passion for them, he plays with Chicago doom band TROUBLE and has played with various metal and punk bands. Then quote me as saying: The blues are the root of rock and roll so sit back and enjoy the groove!!