BEFORE THE FUGITIVE, UNDER SIEGE, THE GUARDIAN, and HOLES
...there was STONY ISLAND.


"My kid brother, Richie, was a budding guitar player and I was a young cameraman, trying to get into the union, wanting to cross over to directing. I wanted to make a film about our roots, how we grew up on the south side of Chicago, and show a unique world of struggling, passionate musicians. Stony Island is an area of Chicago where a lot of great musical artists began to make their mark: Herbie Hancock, Lou Rawls, Gene Krupa, Chaka Khan. As a kid, I rode my bike past Bo Diddley's' home. This city has a rich musical heritage." - Andrew Davis

Chicago has been a major center for music especially since the early 1900s, when the "Great Migration" of black workers from the South and Eastern European immigrants moved into the northern industrial cities, bringing New Orleans Jazz, Klezmer Swing and Delta blues to Chicago, resulting in the explosion of Chicago's own Electric Blues, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Soul, and Gospel.

The neighborhood of Stony Island is unique with the University of Chicago on one side and to the south this "bastion" of rhythm and blues. The intersection of 63rd and Stony Island was a very famous place, where Louis Armstrong got off the Illinois Central's City of New Orleans when he first came to Chicago. There were great clubs, where all kinds of people coming up from the South, especially from the Mississippi Delta, landed and began to make new life. This is where Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, and Chuck Berry came and established themselves, and where the Chess Brothers, who were immigrants from Poland, had a club on the South Side that became the beginning of one of the most influential labels in the country, Chess Records.

Although there are other cities like Memphis and New Orleans with similar backgrounds, Chicago and Stony Island have its own unique rhythm with a vast array of musical greats.

This rich musical history was the inspiration.

"When "Stony Island" hit the silver screen" – Lee Bay, WBEZ.org

READ MORE ABOUT CHICAGO'S MUSICAL HERITAGE