Edge of the Ledge Blues
CHASING THE BLUES, CHAPTER 27: Chicago, IL
Though Willis Tower was less than two miles from our hotel, we decided to humor my foot and take a taxi when we left the hotel this morning. We were also hoping that an earlier arrival would mean shorter lines at this popular Chicago attraction.
Sure enough, when we entered the building at 9:45, there was no line for purchasing tickets ($19.50 each), no line to watch the film, and no waiting for the 60-second elevator ride to the observation deck on the 103rd floor.
|View from Willis Tower to the northeast|
|Only a sheet of glass between you and gravity|
Fruteland Jackson was holding down the noon acoustic performance. A Chicago native, Jackson is a storyteller and an oral historian in addition to being a musician. He is passionate about music education and has developed award-winning instructional materials about the blues. His performance today was enhanced with a bit of teaching also.
|Fruteland Jackson sings and teaches at Buddy Guy's Legends.|
At 6:30, we walked down Wabash to Hubbard and over to State, which took us to the House of Blues. Napoleon Tabion, a Filipino-American who grew up in Indiana, was playing solo in the Crossroads, the House of Blue's full-menu restaurant and blues club. His interest in blues music was sparked by visits to Chicago blues clubs when he was a student at DePaw University. Like all the blues musicians we’ve encountered, Napoleon was very personable.
Sitting and listening to the music, we occasionally felt the room and objects around us shaking rather violently. We thought a train might be rolling through above or below us, but we learned from a server that the enthusiasm of the fans in the concert venue upstairs was the source of the vibrations.
|Crossroads at the House of Blues|
Twenty years younger than Burns, Dave Specter is a Chicago native who learned guitar at the ripe old age of 18. Specter does not sing, and has enlisted various Chicago bluesmen to perform with his band. We thought tonight’s combination worked particularly well together.
As we enjoyed the music, we periodically checked our phones for the latest weather radar. A solid front of rain was in the area and forecast to last several hours. When the band took a break about 10:15, we took that as our cue to walk back to the Homewood, getting lucky and traveling during a break in the system.
It was a great day in Chicago, and we have one more day on our agenda before leaving town. Rain is in tomorrow’s forecast also, so we’ll be seeking out some indoor activities.
FRIDAY, 24 APRIL 2015
A Sampling of Chicago Blues
Jimmy Burns with the Dave Specter Band
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