There’s no doubt Mississippi is a historical staple in the Jazz & Blues movement. The Gulf Coast region is home to the Mississippi Blues Trail commemorating dozens of clubs and cafes where blues greats, such as Bobby Rush, Denise LaSalle and O.B. Buchana performed regularly. But, Jazz & Blues isn’t just something to be remembered – in Coastal Mississippi – it’s still alive and well with award-winning musicians like Lucious Spiller and the opening of new clubs like Ground Zero Blues Club.
Spiller embodies the new generation of Mississippi blues because that’s exactly what he is. He comes from a long line of jazz musicians and grew up surrounded by the music. His family founded the “Black Prairie Blues” and has their own permanent marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail.
Now, Spiller carries on the legacy throughout Coastal Mississippi and the entire state. He was the first musician to perform at the grand opening of the world-renowned Ground Zero Blues Club Biloxi in February 2022, co-owned by Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman. He is also scheduled to perform at the grand opening of Scratch Kitchen in March.
Your family founded the “Black Prairie Blues” and has their own permanent marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail. How have your family roots inspired your career in Jazz & Blues?
I guess it's in my DNA. In the early 1900's, Grandpa Spiller had a band with his brother and nephew called the ‘Salt & Pepper Shakers’ because they were biracial. It was kind of a risk for that time. They used to travel around to different plantations and farms in the area playing for parties.
Why is the history of Jazz & Blues in Coastal Mississippi important to you?
Because of my family. And ALL music is important to me. Because I'm a Music Man.
How would you describe Jazz & Blues in Coastal Mississippi today? How has it evolved?
It's electrified now.
You were the first person to perform at the new Ground Zero in Biloxi, MS. What was that experience like for you?
It felt good to be a groundbreaker, bringing the Crossroads to the Coast.
Photo Credit: Bryant Cummings. Source.
- The Spilller family founded the “Black Prairie Blues” and have their own permanent marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail in Macon, MS.
- Spiller comes from a long line of Jazz & Blues musicians and grew up surrounded by the music; his father Lucious Spiller Sr, his uncle "Magic Sam", his cousins, Eddy Clearwater, Vernon and Joe Harrington, and many other blues greats performed during family reunions.
- Lucious Spiller’s image is featured on the mural at The 100 Men Hall
- Spiller is a two-time International Blues Challenge finalist, making him one of “the best in the world.”
- In 2017, the Associated Press mentioned him as, “…under-the-radar, brilliantly talented musicians like Lucious Spiller, whose performances will make you realize why the blues still matter."