Steve Wagner

Steve Wagner, CEO Wagadelic Music

Wagadelic Music is the record company and publishing company of Steve Wagner, veteran record producer and recording engineer from Chicago, Illinois.

Steve got hooked on music after seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan show and live at Chicago’s Comiskey Park in August of 1965. Straight out of college he would get his first professional job in radio as a jazz program host for WBBY-FM in Columbus, Ohio. In 1987 Steve began his long-standing role at Chicago’s venerable jazz and blues label Delmark Records where he continues to sign, produce and record musical artists.

Some of the blues artists that Steve has worked with include Little Milton, Dave Myers, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Pinetop Perkins, Billy Branch, Eddy Clearwater, Barkin’ Bill, Bonnie Lee, Dave Specter, Linsey Alexander, Toronzo Cannon, Byther Smith, Willie Kent, Tail Dragger, Mississippi Heat, Syl Johnson, Jimmy Johnson and Mike Wheeler. Steve produced Robert Ward’s New Role Soul, Shirley Johnson’s Killer Diller and Johnny B. Moore’s Rockin’ In The Same Old Boat all listed by Living Blues magazines in “Thirty of the Very Best Blues Albums of the 2000s”!!! (http://www.livingblues.com/images/stories/lb208_40-41.pdf)

Best of the 2000s

Best of the 2000s

On the jazz side Steve has worked with Red Holloway, Nicole Mitchell, Kahil El’Zabar, Roscoe Mitchell, David Murray, Fareed Haque, Fred Anderson, Eric Alexander, Roy Campbell, Zane Massey, Billy Bang, Frank Catalano, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Von Freeman, The Fat Babies, Gary Bartz, Harold Mabern and Corey Wilkes.

Overseeing the production of over 500 albums Steve is also deeply involved in the re-issuing of classic jazz and blues recordings. Recently Steve re-mastered and re-packaged two all-time classic Chicago blues albums – Junior Wells’ Hoodoo Man Blues featuring Buddy Guy (1965) and Magic Sam’s West Side Soul (1967). Both of these albums were included in Living Blues magazines “Top Ten Desert Island Blues Albums”. Steve has also produced re-issues by Little Walter with Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, J.B. Hutto, Speckled Red, Big Joe Williams, Sleepy John Estes, Roosevelt Sykes, Junior Wells with Elmore James, Memphis Slim with Matt “Guitar” Murphy and Robert Nighthawk.

Desert Island Blues Album

Desert Island Blues Album

Jazz re-issues include artists Coleman Hawkins with Dizzy Gillespie and Ben Webster, Dinah Washington, Arnett Cobb, Sir Charles Thompson with Charlie Parker, Jimmy Forrest, Willis Jackson, Sun Ra and His Arkestra, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Earl Hines, Art Hodes, Franz Jackson and Illinois Jacquet.

As recording engineer at Delmark’s Riverside Studio Steve has recorded almost every kind of music including jazz, blues, reggae, African, zydeco, cajun, rock, punk, metal, funk, soul, R&B, dance, doowop and Indian.

Steve has been involved in musical events tied to youth activities. For two consecutive years Steve judged “Taste of Chicago’s Teenage Battle of the Bands” and helped provide one of the prizes – studio time at Riverside Studio. For the last two years Riverside hosted Evanston’s School of Rock summer band camp group’s recording project. Teenagers from the school recorded original material with Steve engineering. This past summer one of the songs caught Steve’s ear. After repeated listens Steve decided to contact the parents of the co-writers, Carly and Martina, resulting in their signing with Wagadelic Music for their first recording “Make Me Happy”.