Guy King | Buddy Guy’s Legends | Blues, Gospel, and R&B | Chicago Reader

Guy King Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Tue., Dec. 16, 9:30 p.m. 2008

Local guitarist and singer Guy King was a linchpin of the last working band led by late bassist Willie Kent, where he played mostly shuffle-driven postwar Chicago blues. Now fronting his own group, King still excels at that deceptively basic-sounding style, but he’s also expanded his palette considerably: his debut CD, Livin’ It (IBF), includes jazz-inflected west-coast smooth-blues standards by the likes of Percy Mayfield and T-Bone Walker, fatback-flavored contemporary classics, and (most promisingly) original songs that cover a fair range of styles. The moody, slow-swaying “Alone in the City” is colored by rich horns that lend it a whiff of Basie, and on the strutting, street-tough “The Story” King’s somewhat reedy vocals are at their richest and most expressive—he’s clearly absorbed a lot of his phrasing and intonation from Mayfield. And throughout the record his guitar leads alternate between searing juke-joint eruptions and laser-targeted, whip-smart funk, his improvisations walking the fine line between passion and precision. —David Whiteis

Price: $10

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