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Live Review
"Markiss" & family Benefit
@ The Red Sea, Feb. 11, 1999
By Ray Stiles
Feb. 11, 1999
Photo © 1999 Ray Stiles
All rights reserved
On February 11, 1999 Blue Bass, Inc. along with the Red Sea sponsored a benefit for local musician "Markiss" and his family to help raise funds for their recent loss. Markiss, his wife Ktrina and their three children, Jamal, Isiah and Sierra lost their home to a fire on New Year’s Day. Dave "Biscuit" Miller, bass player with the Lonnie Brooks Band, helped organize this benefit that featured his brother Daddy I from Les Exodus, Pee Wee Dread from Dred I Dread, Willie Murphy, Jimmy Russell and a host of other guest musicians. This was a very relaxed and entertaining evening of Reggae, R&B and Blues with many different musicians constantly joining in the fun. At one point before Biscuit was ready to play, Willie Murphy took over the bass slot with Markiss and Daddy I on guitars (this was a pretty impressive all-star band).

I have always been impressed with Markiss’ guitar playing. He plays with real emotion and has a deft touch on the guitar that displays more than just technical virtuosity. He is always able to elicit some strong feelings in his listeners as he did tonight with some blistering guitar solos.
Daddy I & Willie Murphy
Photo © 1999 Ray Stiles
All rights reserved

Markiss was just a teenager of 17 when he first started sitting in with the blues legends in the clubs around his hometown of Chicago in the early 70's. He, along with Michael Coleman, Lurrie Bell and a number of other young black musicians were embraced by the older generation of blues players in town as being the next generation of blues players who would be carrying the torch. John said a turning point in his blues career occurred when he was asked by Howlin’ Wolf to join him onstage one night to play guitar along side Hubert Sumlin. He ended up touring with Howlin’ Wolf as well as playing with many other Chicago blues luminaries like Muddy Waters, Mojo Buford, Syl Johnson, Buddy Guy, Bo Diddley, the Kinsey Report, Lonnie Brooks and Son Seals.

It was in the mid 1980’s that Markiss moved to Minnesota to play with Ipso Facto and other world music groups. And in 1988 he started the blues band Shades of Color that was voted the best new group at the Minneapolis black music awards that year. Recently, in addition to gigs with Shades of Color, Markiss has been playing with the International Reggae All-Stars and Shangoya.
Biscuit Miller
Photo © 1999 Ray Stiles
All rights reserved

Even though the blues are John’s roots he is well known in the Reggae music scene around the Twin Cites for his exceptional guitar playing. And as he demonstrated on stage tonight, along with his friends, he can play the hell out any type of music whether it is straight Chicago Blues, Reggae, R&B or funk. Markiss and his all-star band got into some very hot grooves as the evening went on.

If you would like to send a donation to help out Markiss and his family (Markiss and Ktrina are also asking for donations of clothing for the children), please send it to:
Markiss, % Blue Bass, Inc., P.O. Box 1584, St. Paul, MN 55101.

This review is copyright © 1999 by Ray Stiles and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.

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