Mississippi Heat | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Mississippi Heat

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Mississippi Heat could easily have been a dreary revivalist outfit, the blues equivalent of those ersatz "Dixieland" bands that tootle for the yahoos in overpriced bistros along Bourbon Street during convention season. But guitarist Billy Flynn is a fiery, emotional player for whom the old blues sounds are as urgent now as they were for the Delta migrants who created them in the late 40s and early 50s. Pierre Lacocque is that rare younger-generation harpist who's absorbed the lessons of subtlety, silence, and solo construction from the masters--Big and Little Walter, the two Sonny Boy Williamsons--as well as their raucous, hawklike tonal power. Second guitarist James Wheeler has developed into a first-class accompanist--Otis Rush has used him as his rhythm man for several years. Anchoring everything are bassist Bob Stroger and drummer Robert Covington, two of Chicago's most solid-and debonair-session men. Come to think of it, "revival" may not be such a bad word for these guys after all: they not only breathe new life into the classic sounds of Chicago blues but they also uplift with the joy and dedication they bring to everything they play. Friday, Rosa's, 3420 W. Armitage; 342-0452.

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

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