It’s always nice to see one of your own predictions come true. In much less time than it usually takes, guitarist Johnny B. Moore has become one of the most widely respected blues musicians in Chicago. He has retained his hard-edged west-side roots while developing his technique in soul, pop, funk, and rock stylings with the instinct of a self-taught master. He’s just beginning to find his stride, and every performance is a potential landmark, as Moore expands his improvisational imagination and musical turf with a relentless exploratory drive. His one drawback is a rather stiff voice, and that’s where Bonnie Lee comes in: she’s a south-side blues veteran, having graced the bands of such greats as Freddy Below, Jump Jackson, and Sunnyland Slim. Her delivery combines blues fire with a sophisticated jazzy tinge; the supple range of her voice soars ecstatically over Moore’s rowdy comping, and she brings some much-needed vocal versatility to his show. Tonight and Saturday, Blue Chicago, 937 N. State; 642-6261. Next Friday and Saturday, May 12 and 13, Miss Jessie’s Soul Food Restaurant & Lounge, 17529 Kedzie, Hazel Crest; 957-8881.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/James Fraher.