will present
Rock 'n' Roll, its Predecessors, and its Descendants
Modern Music for a Modern City

Tuesday, January 7, 5:30 - 8:30 pm. The Lounge at Iwan Ries, 19 South Wabash Av.

Cocktails at 5:30, with the presentation at 6:00 for about thirty minutes, followed by Q&A and general cocktail conversation.
Reservations with EventBrite event support are required. (Select the green "Tickets" link.)

From the earliest dance halls on Wolf Point (in Chicago's first hotel, the Sauganash, in the 1820s and '30s) to the spirited fun of today's Lollapalooza; from Thomas A. Dorsey's gospel music at the Pilgrim Baptist Church (where Dorsey, "the father of gospel music" was music director for decades) to Mahalia Jackson; from Benny Goodman's clarinet and Bix Beiderbecke's cornet (both spent some of their formative years in Chicago) on to Dixie Land, Big Band, and, decades later. to Chicago House Music—Chicago's broad shoulders have supported every measure and every cadence, and it contributions to music have been absolutely dazzling.

In the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the musical genre known as Rock 'n' Roll evolved from gospel, jump blues, jazz, boogie-woogie, rhythm and blues, and country.  It was here in Chicago, home to so many ground-breaking advances in musical styles, that rock 'n' roll music was gestated and delivered.

Please join the Cigar Society as Chicago-area musician and historian Clarence Goodman leads us on a guided tour of the “Big Bang” of rock 'n' roll’s first few decades, and for a discussion of the pivotal role that Chicago has played (and continues to play) in developing the sound and vibe of modern music around the world.
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Clarence Goodman is a Chicago tour guide, history buff, and professional musician.

As tour guide, public speaker, and history buff, Mr. Goodman lectures widely in Chicago about Chicago, and leads physical sightseeing tours that emphasize Chicago's unique history. His tour company is called C Chicago Tours.
As a professional musician, Mr. Goodman's songbook spans generations and genres, dipping into the catalogs of artists such as Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday, performing classics such as "Stardust" and "San Antonio Rose," and including sprinklings from pop legends and his own compositions.  Mr. Goodman's vocal style has been described as a cross between Bob Dylan's and Sam Cooke's.

His lectures and guided tours have included:

  • My Kind of Town ... And Yours!  Chicago 101.  All the stuff you've heard about, read about, and seen in the movies; our landmarks and treasures.
  • Murder, Mayhem & The Mob, in Four Parts: (i) Our town in the Roaring Twenties, (ii) Prohibition, (iii) Al Capone, and (iv) the True Story of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
  • Hell Hath No Fury: The Wicked, Wild, and Wonderful Women of the Windy City: Chicago's Terrific Tradition of Impactful Women!
  • The Devil and Dr. Holmes. You've read the book and are looking forward to the film.  Come see the sites of Chicago's World's Fair (1893)...and America's first serial killer!
  • Emancipation to Inauguration. From the Shotgun Shack to the White House, the Black Experience in ChiTown is rich, nuanced and profound.
  • Black Sox, Billy Goats, and the Monsters of the Midway: Not just cruising by the ballparks, but the why, when, and how of Chicago sports.
  • The Great Migration and the Great War.
  • In the Belly of the Beast: Martin Luther King in Chicago.
  • Burnham, Sullivan, Mies and their Legacies. Chicago Architecture: You can't spell 'architecture' without C-H-I!
  • West Side Stories: Chicago Embraces the Industrial Revolution.
  • Fires, Flops, and Floods: Our Town's history of natural and human-made disasters and tragedies.
  • Four Stars, Two Stripes, One Vision: Milestones in Chicago History.
  • Public Enemy: Dillinger in Chicago.
  • Over There: Chicago Goes to War.

Clarence Goodman writes,

"My whole racket is based on the premise that Chicago is the center of the universe. It then becomes my job to back up that assertion.

"Somehow, I was blessed with a 'history gene' (if there is such a thing!). From a very early age, I displayed an affinity for and an appreciation of history and the massive jigsaw puzzle that it is. That such a nerd would be from Chicago and have parents and grandparents who would supplement this passion with terrific story-telling and the like can’t be an accident. (Somewhere all of my grandparents are rolling their eyes!)"

FUN FACT: Did you know that The Rolling Stones traveled to Chicago to record not one, but two albums (in 1964 and 1965, at Chess Records) as the Stones worked to incorporate that special Chicago Blues sound into their rock 'n' roll music?

If you don't know the blues... there's no point in picking up the guitar and playing rock and roll or any other form of popular music.
Keith Richards

Blues is a big part of rock and roll. The best rock and roll got its birth in the blues. You hear it in Little Richard and Chuck Berry.
—Angus Young

Rock and roll is not one music but many.
   Robert Palmer

Rock 'n' roll is a river of music that has absorbed many streams. All have contributed to the big beat.
   Alan Freed

Rock 'n' roll is a thing of infinite possibilities. Two guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards: However limited it looks on paper, in practice it's an almost sculptural medium, stunning in its plasticity, something that can always be given a new shape.

About the Cigar Society of Chicago

ONE OF THE OLDEST AND greatest traditions of the city clubs of Chicago is the discussion of intellectual, social, legal, artistic, historical, scientific, musical, theatrical, and philosophical issues in the company of educated, bright, and appropriately provocative individuals, all under the beneficent influence of substantial amounts of tobacco and spirits.  The Cigar Society of Chicago embraces this tradition and extends it with its Informal Smokers, University Series lectures, and Cigar Society Dinners, in which cigars, and from time to time pipes and cigarettes, appear as an important component of our version of the classical symposium.  To be included in the Cigar Society's mailing list, write to the secretary at