Cicero Blake | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Cicero Blake is a west-side soul man in the mold of Otis Clay, but he's retained a good deal more of his hard-edged Chicago blues roots than his better-known contemporary. Backed by the versatile Masheen Company--capable of slick blues, soul, pop, even disco if necessary--Cicero pours equal amounts of west-side blues grit and soulful sophistication into his interpretations of standards and originals alike. An especially gratifying element of his performance is the immediate and warm rapport he establishes with an audience. Whether locked deep in the intensity of a ballad or inviting people onstage to sing along with him, Cicero radiates an honest affection for the people who pay to hear him. that is surprisingly rare, and allows him to combine the often disparate roles of "showman" and "artist" with elegance, sensitivity, and grace. Tonight and Saturday, Rosa's, 3420 W. Armitage; 342-0450. Sunday, 5 PM, B.L.U.E.S. Etcetera, 1124 W. Belmont; 525-8989.

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

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