Vocalist Tyrone Davis has taken great pains to deny that he’s a blues singer, but ask most of his fans what they think of him and odds are they’ll call him one of the best bluesmen in the business today. Davis spins his tales of love and infidelity–usually with a moral attached, always with a smooth combination of streetwise assertiveness and disarming warmth–over sophisticated rhythms and unique, ear-catching instrumental arrangements that seldom employ the traditional 12-bar blues form. But despite his urban contemporary feel, he exemplifies the link between modern and the blues tradition. He’s a gifted storyteller, and he consistently admits his vulnerability and fallibility in song as effortlessly as he struts his macho stuff. Then, of course, there’s the sexual charge that permeates Davis’s show: for all the suave elegance he can summon, he still projects a steamy feel of raw funk that could set cats to yowling at a hundred paces, and sets his female admirers to screaming all night long. Saturday, 7 PM, pavilion, University of Illinois at Chicago, 115 W. Harrison; 413-5070.

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