Mad Dog Lester Davenport | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Mad Dog Lester Davenport 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Harmonica player Lester Davenport's first big break occurred in 1956 when he joined Bo Diddley's touring band and cut a few sides with Bo on the Chess label. Despite that auspicious beginning, this master of the sweet-toned, emotionally rich Chicago harp style remained little more than a neighborhood celebrity on the west side until a few years ago when he signed on with Big Daddy Kinsey and the Kinsey Report. That job gained Davenport worldwide recognition and prepared him for his long-overdue ascension as a bandleader. Davenport's style incorporates diverse elements from the glory days of Chicago harmonica blues--the tonal eloquence of Big Walter Horton, the linear elasticity of John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, Little Walter's fleet melodicism--but he seasons everything with his own relaxed sense of improvisational fun. His lack of flamboyance may be what held Davenport back for so long, but with a hot new CD out on Earwig and a tight band of Chicago stalwarts backing him up, he's finally reaching the ears of listeners who've grown tired of the overwrought histrionics that characterize so much contemporary blues. Wednesday, 9:30 PM, Rosa's, 3420 W. Armitage; 342-0452.

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


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by David Whiteis

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
July 19
Performing Arts
Guards at the Taj Steppenwolf Theatre
June 13

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories