John "JB" Bigham is a singer, songwriter, performer, producer and innovator — an artist who blends the sounds of the past and the future with the smooth confidence and authority of a card shark shuffling a hot deck.
But when it comes to creating visionary music under the moniker of his alter-ego/band The Soul of John Black, there's no gambling involved. Bigham's smart blend of rock, funk, hip-hop, and R&B — all embraced by his love of classic and modern blues — makes him a true twenty-first-century soul man.
The musical foundation of this Los Angeles-based innovator who has worked with Miles Davis, Dr. Dré, Nikka Costa, Eminem, and other A-list talents was built during his childhood in the Windy City.
"I learned about music from my friends, my parents and the radio," JB says. "In Chicago a lot of soul-blues was popular, and even doo-wop, but when I got turned on to Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, as a guitar player there was no turning back."
With that broad stylistic education under his belt, Bigham moved to L.A. to pursue a career in music and began working as a touring sideman and session player. His first high profile gig was playing guitar for R&B hit man El DeBarge. But JB's personal history as an experimenter goes back to 1989, when he began an eight-year tenure playing guitar and keyboards in pioneering ska-funk-punk band Fishbone.
"Oddly enough, I didn't get into really deep old school blues until I was working with Miles and he recorded songs with John Lee Hooker for the soundtrack to a movie called The Hot Spot. That music affected me profoundly. John Lee Hooker became one of my main guys. I also figured that if his music and Miles Davis' could blend so beautifully, I should be able to find my own way of combining everything that I love. And that's what The Soul of John Black is about."