Mojo Buford | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Mojo Buford 

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Harpist Mojo Buford is best known as Muddy Waters's last regular harmonica man and longtime understudy, but he's also a well-respected blues veteran in his own right. He got his start in Chicago in the 1950s, filling in for his mentor at Smitty's Corner at 35th and Indiana when Waters went on the road. Eventually Buford's group became known as the Muddy Waters Junior Band, making him the first in a long line of "Muddy Juniors" working around Chicago. Buford's harp technique isn't as flashy as some other Waters alumni; he plays in broad phrases, with a rougher timbre than such nimble warblers as Big Walter Horton or Little Walter Jacobs. But he fills in the spaces between phrases with an unerring sense of shading and time, and what he lacks in flamboyance he makes up for in taste and dedication. Equally proficient at both backing up his bandsmen and soloing, he plays with an unpretentious dedication of the type that's all but disappeared among today's frenetic, note-bending young harpists. Thursday, Rosa's, 3420 W. Armitage; 342-0452.

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

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