Even with temperatures pushing 93 degrees, the show went on in Grant Park--Chicago Blues 2016, Day 2. Jazz and blues photographer Mark Sheldon kept saying, "Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate," and so right he was. Carrying 25 pounds of equipment in that heat is no easy task.
Blues is much like classical music. Somewhat frozen in time, but played right, oh so satisfying. This year the Festival paid tribute to Otis Clay, who passed in January 2016. On the main stage Sunday, there is a tribute to Otis Rush.
For me, the standout of the afternoon was Nora Lee, with her baritone voice pushed through lungs that are the equivalent of a pair of Leslie speakers used to drive a Hammond organ. And just imagine what she was singing--a gospel-tinged tune called "Stand in the Light," which was very apropos given that she was performing on the Bud Light Crossroads stage. Situated in a long patch of trees, with the audience facing east, this stage gets very little frontal light for the performers, but it is backlit. which makes photography bit tricky. There was just one patch of light on the stage, and as Nora Lee repeatedly sang, "Stand in the Light," I thought to myself, now that's a great idea--follow your own advice.
The other standout was Theo Huff, who does a very impressive set of soul and blues numbers, reflecting the influences of the great Tyrone Davis--"Turn Back the Hands of Time." So it should come as no surprise that Kenneth "Hollywood" Scott was playing guitar. Hollywood regularly performed with Davis.
Toward the end of his set, Theo asked if three lovely ladies would join him on stage for some hip shaking. A couple of the women who volunteered knew how to shake their hips. I give a lot of credit to the 89-year old lady who jumped up at the opportunity to join Theo.
It was good to see Billy Flynn performing with a trio. Flynn has been around a long time, getting his start with the late Jimmy "Fast Fingers" Dawkins.
I started the day with Fernando Jones, who was doing a Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsies thing. In the second half of his set, he brought out a number of musicians from Milan. They really enjoyed the opportunity to perform Chicago Blues in Chicago. "Sweet Home Milan" just isn't the same as "Sweet Home Chicago," although I have had some good times in Milan.
Theo Huff Doing Some Soul Music
Popping the Strings
The "Cali Kid" Dances to the Blues
Guitar From Milan
Slyly Looking for Direction
Fernando Jones on Guitar
Hollywood, The Master of the Strat
A Very Well Dressed Guitar Player
Cool in A Stylish Way
Billy Flynn Looking as Stately As Ever
Keeping the Beat
Norma Jean Standing in the Light
Fernando Up Close and Personal
Copyright 2016, Jack B. Siegel. All Rights Reserved