With all the bad news that’s been hanging over the blues world lately–deaths, sickness, untimely departures–the return of guitarist Lefty Dizz is nothing short of a godsend. Dizz, who spent the better part of last year battling cancer, is known around the world for his antic fusion of inspiration and impishness, but what makes him truly special is the gut-level commitment he brings to his art. Beneath his outrageous mugging beats the heart of a true bluesman: those distorted licks he grinds out would sound at home in a Mississippi juke, and Dizz’s lyrics are street-level signifying in the great tradition (think of Bo Diddley minus the beat and with a dollop of childlike whimsy). Since reemerging, Dizz has toned down some of his more outlandish routines, and his music is the better for it. He’s showing the world that after all these years he’s still stone serious about his music; it’s that commitment that allows him to bring so much humor to his act and still remain both musically and emotionally convincing. Saturday, B.L.U.E.S., 2519 N. Halsted; 528-1012.

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