Joe Whitmer and Greg

Jay Sieleman and Jenn

Sean Carney and Micah Kesselring

Paula Harris and Jenn

Paula Harris and Jenn

Pat Pepin and Kelly Thornton

Reinald Jerome Pineda

Jordan Hefler and Jessica Losee

Shirley Waring and Jenn

Jenn and Chef Hart

Mick Kolassa, Jenn and Vinny Marini

Mick Kolassa

Lionel Young and Jenn

Baton Rouge youth participants

Baton Rouge youth participants

Tee Dee Young

Steve Mack and Jenn

Michael Hawkeye Herman and Jenn

Micah Kesselring

Jenn and Jeff Jensen

Jenn and Jeff Jensen

Steven Suen CEO of Biscuit and Blues in San Francisco, CA

"The book will be a classic soon. It is only the beginning. Keep working at it."

Joe Whitmer, Producer of the International Blues Challenge and Chief Deputy Office of The Blues Foundation

“THANK YOU!!! The book is awesome!!! Jenn Ocken and Greg Slim Lively Johnson did an amazing job. I have yet to look though it with out tears! So much hard work and good times documented forever!

Terri Robbins, National Women in the Blues 

"What a whirlwind week! The book, Blues on Beale is absolutely fabulous! I can't put it down!!! So proud of you, and I absolutely LOVE my "Blues on Beale" book! I donated one to a kid! You can, too! Thanks for all you do helping keep the blues alive!"
“Ok, just when I thought I had a grip on my emotional surprises from "Blues on Beale" I neared the end of reading the book (finally, because I couldn't stop looking at the pictures!), turned one of the last few pages, and there was my little write up on Robin Rogers. I had submitted several stories, and didn't know which one you included, if any, and, there it was, along side those beautiful pictures of Robin that I'd seen so many times. Jenn and Greg, this is a history book, and has touched so many. I'm not sure you guys grasp the enormity of profound emotions you have, and will continue to, tap in to for all who see it. Wow.”

Karen Lovely, past finalist and musician from Portland, Oregon

"LOVE the book, Greg! It is now one of my most treasured possessions."

Vinny Marini, Music on the Couch host

"Was a blast meeting you Jenn and having you and Greg Slim Lively Johnson come Sit On Music On The Couch .. The book is AMAZING!!!! Two very cool people who put together a GREAT BOOK! Glad to be a small part of the adventure”"

 Linda Collier, Fisher, IN

"A beautiful historical look at the IBC over the last 11 years. Bravo!!"

Dr. Annette Cargioli, Fishers, IN

"Beautiful Book!! Great project!!"

Michael Frank of Earwig Music, Chicago, IL.

"Buying the book was the icing on the cake for me, Greg and Jenn. Hanging out with you was special and joyous. And I got to sit in on harp."

David Hughes, Hot Springs Blues Society President 

"You two have done a great thing with this book. Well done and congratulations."

 Michael “Hawkeye” Herman, musician and past finals host and judge for The International Blues Challenge

“It was an honor and a pleasure to be included in this most worthwhile project. Thanks so much to my Lil Sistah Jen Ocken and good friend Greg Johnson/SlimLively for documenting, in superb photos and text, the history of the International Blues Challenge via their fine book "Blues on Beale."

 Brandon Santini, musician and past participant of The International Blues Challenge

“Way to go Jenn!”

Tracey Tozier, mother to Ben Tozier, a 2015 youth showcase participant

“Scott and I were so pleased to be able to provide some books for kids...Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of your book's success, and for helping Baton Rouge Music Studios to put on a kids' showcase! It was a wonderful experience for everyone!”

 Earle Farrell from KWAM 990 Memphis

"You are a pure talent with no hype! Rare!!! I like you and your book! Memphis real!!! Yes!!"

Reinald Jerome Pineda, pianist for the 2015 band finalist, Brat Pack from the Philippines 

"Your skill and passion for photography is just great!!! The world will see and hear the blues with your shots! Also I want to thank you for taking that crazy kick shot back stage at Orpheum! That almost ripped my pants though HAHA!"

Jennifer Pina, Mother of the Pina Brothers Youth band from Wichita, KS

"It (Blues on Beale Street: Memoirs of the International Blues Challenge book) will be something to treasure and pass down to his (Jennifer’s son Andre, a Youth showcase participant) family eventually. I know I have enjoyed reading it. You can definitely see the passion and love poured into this great work!" 

Tony Frederickson, President, Washington Blues Society, Board Member, The Blues Foundation

“I knew this book would be a good representation of the International Blues Challenge, but when I was actually able to have it in my hands and see the photographs and read the quotes attached it went way beyond my expectations. The passion and care that went into this is the first thing that grabs you, it is a very powerful presentation of what the International Blues Challenge is all about. The quality and attention to detail is top shelf. You quickly realize that the International Blues Challenge is not so much about the competition of musician-to-musician or band-to-band, but rather a celebration of music and all that it adds to our lives. The fellowship and mutual support between all who attend the International Blues Challenge just leaps out. This book is a great addition to anyone’s library!"

Cindi James of The Blues Foundation from Memphis, TN

"I have been going thru y’all’s IBC book and it is incredible. It truly is the story of IBC! Y’all Rock and I know you are so proud…as you should be!!!!!"

Son Jack Jr.

Got home last night to find my shiny new copy of DocumentingBlues and I can't wait to spend some quality time reading it. A really first class and professional production effort (yes, I'm talking to you Jenn Ocken and Greg Slim Lively Johnson!)”

Kyle Deibler

“After spending the last two weeks dealing with the Memphis crud, I finally had the opportunity to kick back and take a good look at "Blues on Beale Street". I literally have tears in my eyes recalling all of the other memories I have of the IBC that aren't in this wonderful history of the past decade or so of our adventures in Memphis. I've been up til the wee hours with "No Joe" brainstorming ways to improve the IBC and BMA's, I have fond memories of working with Robin Rogers, shared the laugh with David Johnson and I know where almost all of the skeletons are buried when it comes to the infamous adventures of the Adler Suite. But what I'm most proud of the two of you for is the way you've managed to convey the sense of "family" that permeates through all of us who descended upon Memphis to be a part of the greater good, to support this genre of music we all know and love! We are all "family" when it comes to the IBC and much love to you both for the care you've taken in ensuring that our story reached the light of day!”

 Sean Carney

"Blues On Beale Street captures those moments when dreams become reality for Blues artists in the here and now - this is contemporary Blues!"

Jordan Hefler

Jenn Ocken & Greg Slim Lively Johnson have made history by publishing the FIRST EVER photo book about The International Blues Challenge. Having never been to The IBC until after seeing the book, I can tell you that it is a very detailed and emotionally rich documentation of the week on Beale Street. Jenn's photos are beautifully paired with Greg's compilation of stories from the musicians and fans in the blues community. I think anybody who is interested in photography, music, history, or just a good story should DEFINITELY add this to their coffee table book collection!

Les D. Hutchison 

'Blues On Beale Street' - (memoirs of the international blues challenge) is a beautifully assembled coffe-table sized collection of photographs, stories and recollections detailing the journeys of of various blues musicians to Memphis, Tennessee for the Annual I.B.C. competitions.There are so many varied and yet so-familiar stories of these men and women who have a love for blues music and are determined to carry on its fine traditions as well as making a personal mark of their own. Jenn Ocken (Photography) and Greg 'Slim Lively' Johnson (Writer) have combined their love for the blues with their considerable talents to produce this fine volume; highly recommended for those blues lovers who can't get enough of a good thing, and for anyone who appreciates a well-crafted, beautifully told collection of the tales, trials, and tribulations of the aspiring musician and their journeys to and on Beale Street.

Kelly Thornton

"An excellent capture of the feelings and views of all participants in this wonderful community of the Blues in their annual "Challenge". I do not know of any other genre of music that gathers in such a manner to compete and celebrate together as they do at the International Blues Challenge. Jenn's beautiful photos capture these moments and the spirit extremely well. They are complimented by her and Greg "Slim Lively" Johnson's personal stories and those collected from performers, volunteers, and fans over the years. This book is not a history of the International Blues Challenge, but a wonderful expression of love. It gives back to the performers, the staff, and the volunteers our love and appreciation of what they do to make that one week a year magical and delicious to the ears and the eyes. Blues musicians, if you've never attended or participated in the IBC, this will inspire you to do so. If you have attended, what a lovely way to re-live some fabulous memories."

Lezlea Ross

"A must have for any true Blues Fan. Well written, beautiful photography & 30 years of IBC history! Lovin' it!"

Cathy Griffin

"Received my book yesterday. LOVE IT!! What a great collection of true blues moments, big and small. What a pleasant surprise to see myself in one of the pics!! Thank you Jenn Ocken!! I attended the IBC in 2008, with Baton Rouge friends in support of our local Raful Neal Blues Band. WI had the best time EVER! And literally bumped boogie butts with Jenn on the dance floor, jamming to Brandon Santini!! Great memories, great blues, great history in the making Jenn!!!"

 E.M. Kolassa

"The stellar photography alone makes "Blues on Beale Street" special and more than worth the price, then when you add the text with the backstories, provided by Greg Johnson, this book provides a magic carpet ride to Beale Street's greatest time of the year. The IBC is a special event, where future blues stars mingle and jam with their heroes and the fans are served up a buffet of blues not to be had anywhere else. Jenn Ocken has put together an amazing chronicle of the event, the people, and the mood. I get to Beale Street on a very regular basis, but once a year - during the IBC - it is transformed into something very different, and Jenn has captured that transformation perfectly. If you have been to the IBC this will bring back great memories - if you haven't been this is your chance to see what you have ben missing. I bought two copies because I knew I would wear the first one out!"

 Jessica Losee

"Blues on Beale Street is both for Blues fans and people who love photography. Each photo tells it’s own story as well as the grand underlining story of the International Blues Challenge. There are images from back stage, lonely instruments and chairs with a variety of details form the stage to the street that fill the book. This is all mixed in with the raw emotions of people flooding the four-block stretch of Beale Street and all the parts in between. If you are a music lover, there is a photograph for you in this book. If you are a fan of the blues but have never attended the International Blues challenge, there is a photo for you in this book. If you love photography there is a photo for you in this book. This book is an experience in itself, where you are an IBC goer, blues fan or have a deep appreciation for photography."

Steve Mack

"As a long time fan of Jenn Ocken's photography and all that is the IBC, this book does an incredible job of capturing the feel of Beale. The insightful stories submitted by the artists and fans and the writing of Greg Johnson add to the enjoyment for anyone that's experienced (or wanted to) Beale Street during the International Blues Challenge. Hat's off to Jenn and Greg ... Blues on Beale Street is a must have for all that love the blues (and incredible photography)!"

Amber Abney

"Received my book yesterday. LOVE IT!! What a great collection of true blues moments, big and small. What a pleasant surprise to see myself in one of the pics!! Thank you Jenn Ocken!! I attended the IBC in 2008, with Baton Rouge friends in support of our local Raful Neal Blues Band. WI had the best time EVER! And literally bumped boogie butts with Jenn on the dance floor, jamming to Brandon Santini!! Great memories, great blues, great history in the making Jenn!!!"

Dave Robbins

"This is a magical book for me, with photos and stories that take me right back in time to some beautiful friends and memories I've made at the International Blues Challenge over the past 14 years. Words fail to express the stir of emotions it conjures, and I commend and thank Jenn Ocken and Greg Slim Lively Johnson for taking the time to capture and share it! This book's got Mojo!"