Memphis pianist Mose Vinson has lived the majority of his life as one of that city’s best kept secrets. Lithe enough on the keyboard to earn himself the nickname “Boogie” and famous for his renditions of the standard “44 Blues,” Vinson is also a deeply introspective stylist, capable of both exhilaration and profoundly moving balladry. His studio career has been sporadic since the 50s: he’s had a few releases on U.S. labels (Sun and Adelphi) and has recorded for European companies like Albatross and Red Lightnin’. He was also featured on a BBC documentary called The Devil’s Music a few years back. On the basis of a career spanning nearly 60 years, though, Vinson has built a reputation as an accomplished and emotionally satisfying traditional bluesman. Tonight, 8:15 PM, and Saturday, 3 PM, University of Chicago Folk Festival, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th; 702-7300 or 702-9793.

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