Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Billy Branch & Louis Myers



As a tribute to harmonica genius Little Walter, this pairing of one of today's top young harp men with a 1950s Chicago legend might rankle some purists, who would probably prefer a harmonica player more solidly in Walter's mold, such as Carey Bell or Little Willie Anderson. But they're missing the point. Harpist Billy Branch is exploratory and unafraid to challenge the stylistic limitations of the blues just as Walter was, and Louis Myers was never content to remain a slave to tradition; he's capable of laying down everything from traditional Robert Johnson-style finger picking to sophisticated jazz blues stylings to contemporary pop. Together they should provide a respectful tribute to what's gone before as well as demonstrate some of the restless impetus to change that characterized Little Walter's work with Myers in the 50s, which is exemplified by Branch's eclecticism and Myer's lifelong refusal to be pigeonholed by anyone's arbitrary categorization of authenticity. Tonight and Saturday, Rosa's, 3420 W. Armitage; 342-0452.

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

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