Aaron Moore with Billy Flynn & Bob Stroger | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Aaron Moore with Billy Flynn & Bob Stroger

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Pianist Aaron Moore tends to stick to ambling boogies and shuffles, with simple but thoughtful solos that follow basic harmonic structures but plumb the nuances of each chord--a sound that grew out of his years on the Chicago blues club circuit in the 1950s and early '60s. But unlike contemporaries such as Sunnyland Slim, he's relaxed and jolly rather than drive-'em-down exuberant. He tosses off splayed right-hand chords and rolling turnarounds with a disarming ease, and his sure-fingered bass lines romp more than they rock. Moore appeared on guitarist Brewer Phillips's 1996 Delmark CD, Homebrew; his own discography consists of two Delmark releases, 1996's Hello World and 1999's Boot 'Em Up! On the records a certain sameness of key and tempo detracts from the brilliance of the individual performances, but for this gig he'll have the support of guitarist Billy Flynn, whose glinting tone and angular leads ought to liven things up. Flynn's latest, the self-released disc The Smokedaddy Band Featuring Billy Flynn, ranges from a Memphis-style combination of fat, jazzy chords with a dirty tone (John Brim's "You Put the Hurt on Me") through an evocation of Elmore James's keening slide sound ("Elmo Done Moved") all the way to the inspired lunacy of "More Blues," which grafts the sappy ballad "More" onto a surfy teen-pop framework complete with deep-reverb rockabilly picking. Kicking this drummerless group from below will be bassist Bob Stroger, who can add startling curlicues to tried-and-true Chicago bass patterns without cluttering his line or losing his infallible grip on the beat. Tuesday, February 27, 8:30 PM, Pops for Champagne, 2934 N. Sheffield; 773-472-1000.

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

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