Gene Barge | Brian Jackson/Chicago Sun Times | tc338
Gene Barge, who at 87 is still performing, has been profiled by the Chicago Sun-Times, who note that
He also was the producer of the historic Operation Breadbasket Band that included keyboardist Donny Hathaway, Bobby Bland guitarist Wayne Bennett and Curtis Mayfield conga player Master Henry.
The Breadbasket Band is an untold chapter in Chicago’s musical history. The band’s 1970 Chess Records release “On the Case: The SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) Operation Breadbasket Orchestra and Choir” featured 21 instruments and 200 voices and was the first popular music recording from such a large ensemble. The band was led by late tenor saxophonist Ben Branch, who was with Dr. Martin Luther King when he was assassinated.