When most people think of Chicago blues guitar, they think of the aggressive, hard-driving sounds of musicians who took traditional folk concepts and updated them to fit the harsh, speeded-up realities of urban living; from the Delta-influenced followers of Muddy Waters to the young iconoclasts of the west side who laid the ground in the late 50s for the rock-and-roll rebellion of a few years later. But there’s another tradition, exemplified by the elegant musicianship of Floyd McDaniels. It’s a sweeter, more jazz-influenced blues style, pioneered by T-Bone Walker in the 50s and adapted by jazz-pop ensembles like the Ink Spots, with whom McDaniels worked for years. Floyd’s appearance with the Big Three Trio at the Chicago Blues Festival a few years back proved that his chops are as strong as ever, and the music he plays–swinging, sophisticated, and lyrical, but with enough grit to hold the interest of any blues fan–remains fresh and relevant. Thursday, B.L.U.E.S. Etcetera, 1124 W. Belmont; 525-8989.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Bruce Powell.