Jimmie Lee Robinson

Chicago blues stalwart

Jimmie Lee Robinson, a Chicago blues stalwart known for his pointed lyrics and storyteller’s sensibility, was found dead in his car Saturday July 7 on Chicago’s southwest side of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot. He was 71 and had recently been diagnosed with bone cancer.

He changed his name to J.L. Latif Aliomar in a religious conversion two years ago, but he was better known by his original name and as one of Chicago’s top sidemen in the 1950s. A decade later, he had become a blues headliner in his own right and recorded for APO Records since 1998. He had just finished his last recording before he died, according to APO Records. A release date has not been set.

In the 1970s, Robinson left the music business and ran a taxi service, worked as a carpenter and opened a store before reviving his career more than 20 years later.

He capped his comeback with an 81-day hunger strike in 2000 to protest gentrification on Chicago’s historic Maxwell Street, where he was born and raised.

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