Chicago is known worldwide as the home of the hard-driving postwar blues sound, but we have another blues heritage as well: a smooth sound laced with tinges of Texas-California sophistication and informed by the hip swing of our city’s rich jazz legacy. Guitarist Floyd McDaniel is one of this style’s leading practitioners, and he’s also got a refreshing feel for R & B. He worked for more than 20 years with the Ink Spots, and even in staid big-band settings he’s as likely to come out with a doo-woppy novelty number as he is to straighten up and fly right. But the real kick in hearing him is that he infuses even his jauntiest conceits with a kind of sweet nostalgia for a time when elegance and exuberance weren’t mutually exclusive. Surrounded by top-flight reedmen and a swinging, in-the-pocket rhythm section, McDaniel reclaims R & B from generations of beer-and-boogie pretenders and celebrates it as a joyful, knowing, and adult entertainment, full of emotional and musical subtleties. Sunday, B.L.U.E.S., 2519 N. Halsted; 528-1012. Tuesday, Pops for Champagne, 2934 N. Sheffield; 472-1000.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Fraher.