ANDREW "JR. BOY" JONES
Despite his diminutive nickname, Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones is a veteran blues bandleader who's put in time with some of the best, including Jimmy McCracklin, Freddie King, Johnnie Taylor, and Katie Webster. You'll notice that list has a strong southwestern bias, and so does the music on Jones's long-awaited solo debut, the brand-new I Need Time (Bullseye Blues): his string-bending leads, obviously derived from B.B. King's, have a mellifluous elegance that recalls Texas trailblazers like T-Bone Walker, and his knack for imbuing even the most raucous flag-wavers with melodic subtlety and emotional depth reflects a long-standing Lone Star roadhouse tradition. Jones can pattern both his leads and his riffs after horn lines, and at his best he structures his solos like a section player, fitting them comfortably within a song's harmonic structure rather than riding atop the melody and then exploding into extraneous pyrotechnics the way so many younger fret men do. At times his versatility borders on dilettantism--he needs a disciplined rhythm section and a well-thought-out set list to keep him focused. Even at his most desultory, though, he's got enough chops and passion to keep things cooking; and when he finds a groove that really inspires him, he can blow the lid off. Tuesday, 9 PM, B.L.U.E.S., 2519 N. Halsted; 773-528-1012. Thursday, 9:30 PM, Buddy Guy's Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 312-427-0333. DAVID WHITEIS
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by James Fraher.