Kudos to the Jazz Institute of Chicago for showcasing some of the roots of 20th-century African American music in its adventurous bookings for this year’s Jazz Fair. Honeyboy Edwards is often described as a living representative of the Robert Johnson legacy (he was a musical associate of Johnson’s), but actually he goes back farther than that: his percussive guitar patterns hark back at least to Charlie Patton (another Edwards traveling companion, in the early 1930s), and his rhythmic eccentricities–he doesn’t weave melodic complements to his vocal fines as Johnson did but rather fires off intense chords and flurries, often at apparent counterpoint to a song’s structure–recall the earliest days of Delta blues. Also on the program will be Chicago legend Louis Myers, most famous for his smooth work with the Aces in the 50s. Tonight’s rare solo setting will allow him to highlight the rootsy immediacy that’s always lain beneath his best work. Curtis Crawford is the youngest of the three, but unlike many youthful aficionados he plays with the buoyant intensity of a man who truly feels the music, and both his technical abilities and his encyclopedic knowledge of tradition are unassailable. Monday, 7-10 PM, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-1676.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/James Fraher.