Concert Review: NuBlu Band, Buddy Guy, January 27, Buddy Guy’s Legends

The New Orleans Jazz Fest line-up was just recently released and jazz fans the world over are celebrating. Chicago is one of the prime spots for jazz enthusiasts to revel in the upcoming fest from afar and Buddy Guy’s is the place to be in the Windy City. This was obvious on Saturday night when the energetic and amazingly talented NuBlu Band teamed up with legendary world-wise NO jazz fest artist Buddy Guy to enthrall a sold out crowd of old, young, men, women, weathered, weary, and woozy. This smoky, super authentic venue takes all types.

First: NuBlu. What a treat! The Chicago-based Blues/RnB/pop group had the crowd swaying, singing and shimmying to an awesome combo of motown, blues, RnB and jazz. The two leading ladies have amazing voices – Carlisle as lead and Kenyatta as back-up boast vocal chords that put today’s pop stars to shame. Carlisle’s throaty, gut-wrenching pipes literally gave me goosebumps several times and Kenyatta’s honeyed voice complements the sound perfectly with notes and echoes that make the sensation even more powerful. Backing up the femmes fatales are their very talented instrumentalists Mark Maddox on guitar, Dan Henley on drums, JR Fuller on bass, and Dave Holloway on keys. The quintet played a solid hour of crowd-pleasers to the audience which, in a special way, included Carlisle’s 96 year old grandmother. NuBlu rocked the house – making family proud and fans pleased.

Then, owner and artist extraordinaire Buddy Guy took the stage. This was my first time seeing or hearing the legend so I had no expectations … but he still blew me away. A little about Buddy Guy in case, like me, you were not in the know (thanks Wikipedia!): Buddy Guy is often labeled as a Chicago blues artist, although his style stands apart for its unpredictable and creative mix of soul, free jazz and blues. And what a lovely, unpredictable gentleman Buddy proved to be! The legend has gained his status honestly: he casually took the stage at 11:30 (no rushing The Great) in a blue pin-stripe suit and launched into classics and long instrumental improvisations that had the crowd roaring. While Buddy’s music oozes talent, confidence, and skill, I have to say his commentary was equally unexpected and memorable. Buddy has seen and done it all and he has no qualms telling his devoted fans what’s what, be it about drinking, racism, the draft, or the power of the Man. If you ever have the chance to see this gentleman play or pontificate – take it. You will remember it for a long, long time.

If you’ve read this far: thanks. If you’ve skipped to the end, know this: NuBlu and Buddy Guy. Jazz and blues at their best. Check them out.

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Posted on by halley in Concerts

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