Entertainment lawyer Jay B. Ross to receive CMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award Jan. 27

The guy who responds to “how are you today” with “not bad for a beginner” will receive a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the 27th annual Chicago Music Awards Jan. 28.

Honoree Jay B. Ross, who has a mile-long list of achievements in the music field, has been an entertainment lawyer in Chicago for 40 years.

A full house of 1,500 is expected at Park West for the CMA awards recognizing outstanding Chicago entertainers and others in the music industry in 42 categories.

Ross said that he’s honored by CMA’s recognition, and praises CMA’s founder and guiding force, Ephraim Martin, “for his dedication in celebrating the achievements of Chicago artists and for discovering promising talent early in their careers”

A pioneer in the field of entertainment law, Ross has represented scores of music legends, including James Brown, Ray Charles, Muddy Waters, Woody Guthrie, Jerry “The Iceman” Butler, Koko Taylor, Albertina Walker and Willie Dixon.

The late James Brown was a client for 15 years, during which time Ross enjoyed Mr. Brown’s implicit trust in his legal skills.

He recalled how he received a call from Brown out of the blue, on the recommendation of a mutual friend. Brown, having heard that Ross was an honest lawyer and shrewd negotiator, had invited him down to his August, Georgia office for the day, at Brown’s expense.

Ross negotiated many of Mr. Brown’s recording all his movie deals

“He was in work release at the time,” Ross recalled. “He had run away from a cop who had shot out the tires of car and was caught and sent to jail.

Brown told him, “?When I get out, I want to do a pay-per-view show and I need someone to negotiate for me.”

Ross’ negotiation with Time-Warner and BET resulted in the largest advance ever paid to a music entertainer for pay-per-view, well over $1 million.

Thereafter, Ross handled many of Brown’s recording contracts and all of his movie deals.

In fact, he is still handling legal work on behalf of the Brown estate. Ross filed a suit against Bill Gates-owned Corbis stock library for using James Brown photos without the estate’s permission to do so. A settlement is pending.

In addition to entertainment law work, Ross does a lot of song placement for TV and movies and works on obtaining “the thousands of dollars in digital recording royalties owed to groups who recorded in the ?60s and ?70s,” he said.

Born in Brooklyn, Ross was orphaned at age two and went to live with an aunt and uncle in Rockford, where he grew up. He attended the University of Wisconsin and the University of Illinois law school.

Ross shares his vast experience by teaching at local colleges and law schools, and at music industry-sponsored seminars and conventions throughout the country. His credit course on negotiation music will be held in April at Columbia College.

Ross and his staff of four are located in the building he owns at 840 W. Grand Ave. Phone, 312/633-9000. Email: Jay@jaybross.com.Jaybross

Tickets for the show are $33 and $55 for VIP reception, and may be purchased through Ticketmaster. Show starts at 7 p.m.