Velvet Jimis, Harry Hmura
THE VELVET JIMIS: The Velvet Jimis , a local favorite have been have hung out and played together for almost 10 years with (2) CD’s under their belt. Randy Hess (vox and bass), Loren Middleton (vox and lead guitar), Rick Renner (vox and rhythm guitar), Jason Edwards (vox and drums), Christopher Styles (vox and percussion) and Jimmy Darley (vox, harmonica) produce colorful and diverse original tunes . If you haven’t seen these hometown boys, you’ll be in for a treat.
With the help of his new friend, Ken Johnson who was James Cotton's drummer, he went to all the clubs in town to listen to all the greats touring through the city. In his own words, "The one person I give thanks to at all times is Kenny Johnson. May he rest in peace! He was a big brother to me from the first day I met him at Cotton's house. He was encouraging and inspiring. I owe it all to Kenny (Johnson) and James (Cotton)." Thanks to his friends/band members, he often sat in alongside Muddy Waters, Dickey Betts and the Allman Bros., Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, Junior Wells, Elvin Bishop, Roy Buchanan, with Hendrix’s drummer Buddy Miles and with Muddy Water’s pianist Pinetop Perkins.
On one of his first stops with Cotton, Harry performed in New York's Radio City Music where Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter and BB King were on the same bill. Johnny Winter had been one of his musical idols when he was growing up so playing with him is etched deeply in his memory. Playing with greats - who are now legendary musicians brought a deep sense of responsibility; this is the kind of mentorship that turns protégés into future masters. Harry was very young and he had only dimly sensed how powerful music could be.
Shortly after leaving James Cotton, another blues harpist, Sugar Blue heard him perform at the original Checkerboard Lounge (once home to Buddy Guy) relocated in what is now called Bronzeville, Chicago. Sugar Blue heard him that night and hired him to tour Europe with him. Harry toured Europe with Sugar for close to two years.
When he came back to Chicago, Harry formed his first fusion group “Countdown” in the mid 1980’s. At that time, he also began to record in studios for TV and radio commercials for sponsors ranging from Kraft, McDonald’s, Flintstones Vitamins to the Oprah show. He has now performed on local and national TV shows, A&E’s American Justice, Biography, WGN, National Geographic, NBC, WTTW-PBS, Storm Stories, History Channel, Discovery, ESPN and VH-1.
In 1994, Harry recorded with smooth jazz artist, Brian Culbertson. He then went on to tour with Brian for the next four years. Harry also wrote, co-wrote and produced several songs for Brian's next two records, “Modern Life” and “After Hours”. On the Modern Life CD, Harry co-wrote the title track and Out of the Mist. On the After Hours CD, he co-wrote Inside Pocket. As Brian Culbertson grew in fame, Harry performed in larger and larger audiences all over the world.
Harry then left Brian to release his first solo CD, “Passion” in 2002 on United One Records.