From the levee camps and country jukes of 1920s Mississippi to European concert halls, Sunnyland Slim has been carrying his indefatigable blues message of survival, hope, and determination to music lovers of all stripes for over 65 years. His piano style–cascading treble flurries and staccato note clusters overlaid on a steady rolling bass–is as immediately identifiable as his remarkable voice, which some claim used to shatter microphones. At 79, Sunnyland’s status as elder statesman of Chicago blues is unchallenged, and both his musical prowess and the seemingly unquenchable spirit that burns inside him remain an inspiration to admirers, friends, and proteges the world over. This will be Sunnyland’s first club date after over three months of recuperation from a serious illness; it’s our chance to say welcome back and thank you to one of the great men of the blues. Tonight and Saturday, Lilly’s, 2513 N. Lincoln; 525-2422. Sunday, B.L.U.E.S., 2519 N. Halsted, 528-1012.

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