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Friday, December 14, 2007

Jam Experiences - Legends, Chicago

So I hit the Monday night blues jam at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago a couple of weeks ago. This might be the best-attended jam in the Chicago area (and there are multiple blues jams every Sunday through Thursday in and around the city). At Legends, the jam is split between two hosts - Jimmy Burns and Brother John. Each leader runs two jams each month, so participants can choose to attend the Jimmy jam or wait a week and attend the John jam. Of course, many folks attend every week. It is usually packed with muscians and fans.

Jimmy Burns was running the jam the night I stopped by. Mr. Burns is one of the "real deal" bluesmen that have not received the recognition he deserves. He has a rich, gospel-tinged voice and an immediately-identifiable guitar style and sound. Jimmy is also an outstanding entertainer. His patter between songs is smooth and amusing; he makes people feel good. I often steal Jimmy's sidemen for my Mystery Band gigs. Anthony Palmer (guitar), E.G. McDaniel (bass) and James Carter (drums) are a very tight unit, and their musical skills are formidable.

The first musician that Jimmy invited up to the bandstand was a your fellow, 15 years old, named Blair Tuller. Blair picked up the guitar a couple years back and he has been working hard - playing along with blues records, I suspect. This was his first time at a jam - his father drove him to Chicago from Michigan, where they live. Blair hung in there with the pros, and laid down some nice licks. This fellow is going to be a major player if he keeps working.

I did a couple of my original songs with Jimmy's band, then high-tailed it off the stage. The Legends house manager, Harvey, button-holed me and said, "Hey man - Buddy wants to talk to you." Ulp.

I spent a little time talking to Mr. Guy; I felt unworthy of his attention. He apparently likes one of my originals; I sent the lyrics to his manager. This is pretty weird, and interesting.

I am waiting to hear back; probably will need to chase Buddy's manager to get a status report. Buddy said he was heading into the studio to cut a new album soon and he is looking for material. Ulp.

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