In August 2012, Mississippi Heat celebrated their 20th anniversary in the business with a new CD called DELTA BOUND, on Delmark Records. This is their 10th release. The band plays a variety of original BLUES and SWING music styles. It can play at low volumes - or louder if need be - depending on venues. Mississippi Heat is led by Harmonica ace Pierre Lacocque. The core band is made of 5 musicians: Harmonica, Guitar, Bass, Drums and a female Lead Singer, Ms. Inetta Visor. The band is well known internationally, and has headlined numerous festivals here and abroad, including the Chicago Blues Festival. MH's recordings have received numerous national and international awards.
Price Range: Contact for rates
Languages: English, French
Unions: We Are Insured By MetLife, But Do Not Belong To Any Unions.
What to Expect
We are a Chicago Blues Band with an eclectic range of musical styles. Depending on the venues, we can play background music such a gentle swings or soft Chicago Blues, to all-out passionate party songs. The band is respectful to audience expectations, and is highly professional and courteous on and off the band stand. While we can and do play Chicago Blues songs from B.B. King or Jimmy Reed, we tend to play fresh and original music, straight from the heart. We rely heavily on our 10 recordings to date, especially our songs receiving radio plays, though we always add new songs. The band constantly updates its material as most Mississippi Heat members are song writers.
Mississippi Heat is a Chicago-based band of international renown. They not only work throughout the USA, but they also travel world-wide (to Europe, Canada and South America, for instance). Mississippi Heat's motto translates well the band's originality: "Traditional Blues With A Unique Sound". Indeed, Mississippi Heat is steeped within a traditional blues feel, yet is renowned for its original and fresh approach. This band is as comfortable playing Chicago Blues, as it is playing Swing, R&B and/or Reggae music, for instance. The band is a highly professional outfit. Members are always well-dressed, ponctual and they have experience in a wide variety of settings: They can easily perform at low volumes for quiet venues like restaurants or corporate events, as they easily can perform for crowds looking to party and to dance.
Mississippi Heat has received numerous awards. The last honor to date came with their 2010 Delmark Records' release "LET'S LIVE IT UP". The latter was voted "Best Blues Traditional Recording of the Year" by Blues Blast Magazine. It was voted "Best Traditional Blues Recording" by fans from over 80 countries! The band's new CD, "DELTA BOUND" (August 2012) was submitted for a 2012-2013 GRAMMY AWARD in a variety of categories, as well as for a Blues Music Award (Blues Foundation).
Band Leader and harmonica master Pierre Lacocque founded the band in 1991. His encounter with the Blues came when he was around 2 1/2 years old. His father had bought him a four-hole green plastic harmonica, and Pierre cried as soon as he began blowing in it. That is one of his earliest memory in life, and the beginning of a long love-affair with this small but profoundly expressive instrument. From that day on, he knew he was destined to play the harmonica, though none of the European music around him inspired him like Chicago Blues music eventually would.
His parents hailed from Belgium. Their ancestors as well. And this for numerous generations on down. His family eventually moved from Belgium to Chicago in 1969. He was then 16 years old. This was the year when he first heard how an amplified blues harmonica sounded like. Prior to 1969, he had no idea that Blues Music existed as a music genre, let alone that the blues harmonica played a central role in it. Hearing that saxophone-like sound coming out of an amplifier (i.e, a harmonica with a microphone connected to a guitar amplifier) shaped his life's meaning and purpose forever. In magazines and radio interviews, he often describes this revelation as a religious experience. An experience of pure AWE. The player he had heard for the first time ever was Blues Harmonica Legend Big Walter Horton. The latter became one of his mentors. Others followed, like Chicago-based harmonica players Little Walter, James Cotton and Carey Bell.
Pierre played in a variety of blues bands in Chicago and in Montreal, Canada (1970-1976, where he studied Psychology at McGill University) until he founded Mississippi Heat 1991, back in Chicago. He had returned from Montreal to Chicago where his immediate family lived (his father, Andre Lacocque, is an Old Testament Scholar and Professor at the Chicago Theological Seminary, in Hyde Park; and for numerous years, his mother was a French teacher at the University of Chicago's Lab School, also in Hyde Park).
From the very beginning of Mississippi Heat's existence, Pierre wrote most of the band's songs. He revels in writing melodies and lyrics. Though Mississippi Heat's signature sound is strongly influenced by his band members's genial contributions, his own soulful harmonica style unmistakably shapes a big part of that sound. He always surrounds himself with stellar musicians, some of whom still perform with him nowadays: Kenny Smith on drums since early 1997, Carl Weathersby on Guitar (since @ 1996), and Inetta Visor, Lead singer since @2001. Pierre is not a band leader that hogs all the attention or solos to himself. While he remains at the center of the band's performance live on/or on Mississippi Heat's recordings, he invites every member of his band to shine in every way possible. As he is known to say, "The ensemble precedes the importance of the individual."
As said above, the band is highly seasoned and adaptable to all occasions and a variety of musical styles. We regularly play at small venues (for instance, every second Thursday of every month at Shaw's Crab House, in downtown Chicago) or perform in clubs, corporate or private functions, or as headliners at festivals.
Additional Booking Notes
Ideally, we would need a PA system and a sound engineer. However, we do own a variety of PA systems ourselves. For bigger venues we would need the instruments to be leveled and amplified through a sound system. Again, we are equipped to provide such service as well.
The core band consists of FIVE musicians: A Female Lead singer, drums, bass, lead guitar/vocals and band leader/Master of Ceremony Pierre Lacocque on harmonica. Other details can be worked out with Pierre.
Selection of tunes depend on the venue's volume expectations. We have a huge song list, from hard-driving boogie, lumps and stomps, to softer Jazz or blues ballads. We rely on our 10 recordings for song ideas, though we can as easily perform Chicago and R&B covers songs from Etta James to Muddy Waters. Our website contains videos of the band, as well as a JUKEBOX where you can hear samples of what we do.
|Pierre Lacocque (Band Leader)||With Inetta Visor and Band|
Influences & Inspiration
Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughn ... . We love to relate to an audience, big or small. We also know to lay low if the event requires us to do so. For years we have played in Chicago restaurants like Gibson's Steak House or Shaw's Crab House, for instance, and we can easily respect patrons' wish to converse and socialize around a drink or a meal. However, we are also seasoned at performing at larger venues like Buddy Guy's Legends (a few times a year), House of Blues (around once a month), Kingston Mines (every two months), or outdoors festivals such as the Montreal International Music Festival (numerous times since the early 1990's), or headlining in Europe and South America.
Drum kit, 3 amplifiers (Guitar, Bass, and Harmonica), 3 microphones front L to R, Monitors in front, and one monitor for the drummer.
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