Magic Slim has toned down his furious energy a bit since the days of his legendary jam at Florence's Lounge, at 55th and Shields, but when he really gets into it he's still one of the blues's most exhilarating performers. His keening guitar work alternates sustained shimmering phrases with high-voltage flurries that sometimes seem to spark from his fingertips like an electrical charge, and he roars out his lyrics in a declamatory shout that reflects the bull-like machismo of his stage personality. Second guitarist John Primer is more subtle; his mentor Sammy Lawhorn gave him a profound understanding of blues phrasing, and the melodic sophistication of both his leads and his rhythmic accompaniment provides a tasty contrast to Slim's primal blues power. Bassist Nick Holt, Slim's brother, knows the big man's music so well by now that he sounds like he's tied directly into Slim's brain, and drummer Michael Scott is the most versatile percussionist they've ever had. Few contemporary bands dare play blues this raw and uncompromising. Tonight and Saturday, Buddy Guy's Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 427-0333 or 427-1190. Sunday and Monday, Checkerboard Lounge, 423 E. 43rd; 624-3240. Tuesday, B.L.U.E.S. Etcetera, 1124 W. Belmont; 525-8989. Thursday, B.L.U.E.S., 2519 N. Halsted; 528-1012. Next Friday and Saturday, December 8 and 9, Lilly's, 2513 N. Lincoln; 525-2422.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Fraher.