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My name is Gary Zidek. Welcome to The Arts Section. Tune into the radio program every Sunday morning on WDCB 90.9 & 90.7 FM or listen to it online here. I'll be showcasing a variety of arts & entertainment, as well as.highlighting some creative ideas.

A Conversation With Earth Wind & Fire's Ralph Johnson

A Conversation With Earth Wind & Fire's Ralph Johnson

Fifty years after Maurice White put together a soulful music group in Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire is still going strong. Mr. White passed away two years ago, but Verdine White, Philip Bailey and Ralph Johnson are continuing the band’s legacy. WDCB’s Gary Zidek recently caught up with long-time Earth Wind & Fire percussionist and vocalist Ralph Johnson to talk about the group’s beginnings and favorite memories.

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“To me that’s quite a story, for a jazz drummer (Maurice White) to come from where he came from, playing with the Ramsey Lewis Trio and then here we are 50 years later, and his stamp is still on the music.” - Ralph Johnson talking about the legacy of Earth Wind & Fire founder and Chicago native Maurice White.

Ralph Johnson on drums

Ralph Johnson on drums

The legendary r&b/soul/funk /pop group Earth Wind and Fire is returning to Chicago this weekend for two shows at the Chicago Theater. The band will always have a special connection to the city because this is where Earth Wind and Fire was born.  Founder Maurice White started the group here in 1969.  A couple years later he moved to L.A. and revamped the line-up adding his brother Verdine White and some other musicians, including drummer Ralph Johnson.

A shot of Earth Wind and Fire from the 1970’s

A shot of Earth Wind and Fire from the 1970’s

The new line-up clicked, and the rest is history. The band has won six Grammy’s, four American Music Awards and has sold over 90 million albums.

Maurice White retired from touring in 1995 and passed away in 2016 at the age of 74.

But Earth Wind and Fire continues to entertain fans with a line-up led by Verdine White, Phillip Bailey and Ralph Johnson.

Earth Wind and Fire today. (Left to right) Verdine White, Philip Bailey and Ralph Johnson.

Earth Wind and Fire today. (Left to right) Verdine White, Philip Bailey and Ralph Johnson.

Johnson joined the revamped Earth Wind and Fire in 1971 and has been an integral part of the band ever since. And he says he has no plans of slowing down.

Earth Wind & Fire’s Ralph Johnson

Earth Wind & Fire’s Ralph Johnson

Earth Wind and Fire is performing at the Chicago Theater Saturday July 27 and Sunday July 28. You can find more information here.

And Johnson has new smooth jazz track out called “Co-Swagit”, you can learn more by clicking here.

Film Review: ONCE UPON A TIME ... IN HOLLYWOOD

Film Review: ONCE UPON A TIME ... IN HOLLYWOOD

Hot Fun In the Summertime: A Look At the Best Local Outdoor Theatre Options

Hot Fun In the Summertime: A Look At the Best Local Outdoor Theatre Options