Corky Siegel


Oral History Information

Corky Siegel often mentions he had three LP records as a kid that changed his life. The three Blues artists were Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Jimmy Reed. Growing up in the southside of Chicago, Corky formed a trio and began playing in coffee houses and for parties when he was 19 years old. The trio included his longtime friend and musical partner, Jim Schwall. Each Thursday night the group had a standing gig at the club Peppers, where Chicago Blues icons would often join the young men on stage, performers such as Little Walter and Muddy Waters. With a vision of fusing the Blues with elements of Classical Music, Corky connected with Seiji Ozawa who encouraged him to pursue his musical dreams. Siegel and Schwall combined Symphonic music with the Blues and created Chamber Blues, which was not only their musical style but also the name of their band. Corky has recorded a number of albums both in his name and for others, including a demo for Joni Michell, which many have said launched her career.