Guitarist Dave Specter’s development over the past few years has been nothing short of astounding. He cut his teeth working in some pretty rough-and-ready company–Son Seals, Sam Lay, the Legendary Blues Band–but the style he’s developed combines the urban intensity of those teachers with a sweet jump-blues swing that’s rare in Chicago today. Specter’s most apparent point of reference these days is probably Ronnie Earl–like Earl, he constructs solos with precision, emotional honesty, and the promise of passion lurking behind even his most tasteful and well-constructed leads. Featured vocalist Jesse Fortune is yet another in the legion of obscure Chicago legends making comebacks after years of inactivity. His entire recorded legacy consists of a handful of sought-after collectors’ items on the USA label from 1963. Although he sometimes tends to be a bit slavish in his B.B. King imitations, he’s capable of soaring, gospel-styled interpretations of ballads and rockers alike, and with Specter and the Bluebirds egging him on, he’s liable to surpass the considerable potential USA saw in him nearly 30 years ago. Wednesday, Buddy Guy’s Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 427-1190.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Marc PoKempner.