Lazy Lester | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Lazy Lester 

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Louisiana harp player Leslie "Lazy Lester" Johnson has long been something of a cult legend among devotees of the "swamp blues" sound he helped create on Jay Miller's Excello label in the 1950s, but his popularity has rested mainly on covers by white rock bands. In recent years, Lester has begun touring with greater frequency; he has lost none of his unique ability to convey with his distinctive harmonica style profound blues feeling through a sparse, economical use of melodic improvisation, and his laconic vocals recall the classic country blues relaxation immortalized by Slim Harpo, for whom Lester often played percussion. This gig should showcase Lester to his best advantage: he'll be accompanied by a sympathetic Chicago aggregation, led by guitarist Steve Freund, and the evening promises, to be a rare excursion back to the soulful roots of one of the most legendary styles of the blues. Saturday and Sunday, Rosa's, 3420 W. Armitage; 342-0452.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Robert Barclay.

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