Tre & the Blue Knights 

It's been awhile since Chicago's seen a new artist capable of fusing both the funky sophistication of the classic deep-soul sound with the gritty sensuality and immediacy of Chicago blues. Tre and his Blue Knights aren't yet in the same league as Cicero Blake, Lee "Shot" Williams, or Tyrone Davis, but they're headed in the right direction. Lead singer-guitarist Tre is a fiercely emotional player with an unusual feel for the sheet prettiness of music. His tone shimmers and interweaves with his sidemen's chords and riffs, bringing a sense of enchantment to his material, even at its most desperate and forlorn. Tre is still developing as a singer--he's annoyingly sharp on occasion, and a callow self-absorption often mars his delivery--but he has a powerful way with a ballad, and on up-tempo blues his playing evokes the single-string primitivism of Guitar Slim filtered through a raw post-60s garage band sensibility. Whether he can develop into a first-rank performer remains to be seen, but any young artist with this kind of commitment to straight-ahead soul-blues stylings deserves our encouragment. Saturday, Rosa's, 3420 W. Armitage; 342-0452.

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