Chuck Berry With Johnnie Johnson | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Chuck Berry With Johnnie Johnson 

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Chuck Berry is usually content to just go through the motions these days--even his potentially explosive reunion with Matt "Guitar" Murphy and pianist Lafayette Leake at the Chicago Blues Festival a few years ago went flat, redeemed only when Keith Richards showed up and proceeded to blow Berry completely off the stage. But if anything can galvanize him it's a gig like this one with pianist Johnnie Johnson. Johnson played as big as role as anyone in defining rock and roll piano. He toured consistently with Berry in the mid-50s, and his keyboard-fracturing accompaniment was featured on some of Berry's most important hits ("Brown-Eyed Handsome Man," "Roll Over Beethoven," "School Days"). Recommending a Chuck Berry show is always a risky venture, but the opportunity to see these two trailblazers together is too good to miss--and there's always a chance the spark will ignite. Tonight, 7:30 and 10 PM, Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison; 327-1662 or 477-7469.

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