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Jimi Primetime Smith
 
Guitarist, singer and songwriter Jimi Primetime Smith was literally born to be a blues musician. He was born in Chicago to legendary drummer, singer and songwriter Johnnie Mae Dunson and her husband Andy Smith. His legendary mother wrote songs for, among others, Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters and Koko Taylor. 

By the time Jimi was twelve, he was regularly exposed to a vast array of the greatest blues artists of the day, whether they were regulars like Reed, who had moved into the Dunson home, or other artists passing through Chicago, like Muddy and Eddie Taylor. Of Reed, Smith says,  “He was like an uncle to me. Jimmy started teaching me his style of music and I picked it up fast enough that he decided to take me on tour with him. At the age of  fourteen, I started touring with him, playing the Ann Arbor Blues Fest in 1973 and clubs in Detroit and Chicago, until 1976. Also during that time Eddie Taylor started teaching me how to develop my own style of playing guitar, along with Hubert Sumlin.”

He then relocated to Minneapolis, where he had the chance to play with Etta James, Albert King, Dr John and others. After some time in Minnesota (1979-89) , he started his own band Jimi Primetime Smith and the Primetime Players. There, his group was the house band at Blues Alley, where he recorded his debut as leader, Give Me Wings, on Atomic Theory Records.

After some time off, he returned to music and recorded his second recording, Back On Track, for Coldwind Records. In 2015, he had the chance to join Bernard Allison’s group, which toured Europe and the USA.

Smith currently resides in Arizona, where he sometimes performs with Shawn Holt and the Teardrops. He has also reacquainted with his old friend Bob Corritore who owns the Rhythm Room in Arizona.

In February, 2023, Jimi appeared on the cover for a feature article in Living Blues magazine and signed with Lunched Management & Booking for worldwide representation.

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Further reading:
Living Blues article on Jimi Primetime Smith (Jan/Feb 2023):
http://digital.livingblues.com/publication/?i=778106

Chicago Reader article on Johnnie Mae Dunson (Jan 2023):
https://chicagoreader.com/music/remembering-the-big-boss-lady/


 

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