Kenny Neal, Lucky Peterson & Silent Partners | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Kenny Neal, Lucky Peterson & Silent Partners 

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Better bring the fire extinguisher for this one--it's a summit meeting of some of the hottest, most audacious Young Turks on the contemporary scene, and it has the potential to be either a scorching success or an out-of-control blues bonfire. Guitarist Neal, son of Baton Rouge harmonica legend Raful Neal, is probably the most restrained of the bunch; his incendiary leads are tempered with maturity and taste, due likely to the sparse musical style of the Louisiana tradition in which he was raised. Peterson, meanwhile, is youthful exuberance personified: brilliant one minute and out of control the next, he dashes from guitar to keyboard and back, firing off notes with effortless virtuosity and a near-manic determination to pour his entire musical consciousness into every phrase, like some blues-drenched Neal Cassady. Silent Partners are anything but silent: loud and funky, with a bass-heavy urban harshness, they threatened to entirely obliterate pianist Katie Webster when they worked with her, but in Neal and Peterson they may have met their match. The future of the blues has arrived with enough energy to propel itself into the 21st century--if it doesn't self-destruct from its own heat. Wednesday, B.L.U.E.S., 2519 N. Halsted; 528-1012.

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


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