Steve Ditzell & Blue Lightning reunion
By Lisa Palmeno
By Lisa Palmeno
Steve Ditzell & Blue Lightning will hold a reunion at Rockys at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9 at 5314 N. 2nd Street in Loves Park.
Rock and blues guitarist Steve Ditzell formed the group with Marty Bender (drums) and Dave Kaye (bass) in 1988, and the three
have played their home town of Chicago frequently, as well as Rockford and many towns in between. Ditzell was recently in
Florida visiting his family and says he is looking forward to playing Rockys and getting back together with the original members of Blue Lightning. Each has had other commitments with different bands and projects, so Ditzell has on occasion hired
alternate bassists and drummers.
Known for his guitar mastery and smooth, bluesy vocals, Ditzell offers up traditional blues and classic rock from Elmore James-style slide guitar to Waylon Jennings to ZZ top, throwing in a mixture of his own originals such as Packin Up, Blues for Theresa, and I Got Over It. The group went into the studio in October where they recorded seven songs, five Ditzell originals and two Kaye originals Get Back and Your Move.
Ditzell actually moved to Chicago from New York State where he had already been performing professionally for 10 years. Moving to Chicago led him to the blues clubs, a move which put him in the position to share the stage with legendary performers
such as Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Big Mama Thornton, Koko Taylor, Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, Chuck Berry, Keith Richard, Robert Plant, Tom Waits, Stevie Ray Vaughan and many others. He toured internationally with Junior Wells, Buddy Guy and Koko Taylor from 1979 to 1990 and with Wells and Van Morrison in 1994. Career highlights include being a five-time RAMI Awards nominee and a winner of the Best of Rockford Award in 96, 97 and 99.
With Blue Lightning, Ditzell played at the Waterfront Festival and performed at the Rockford Blues Festival in 1998 and 1999.
Kaye is a member of Liz Mandville Greesons band in Chicago. Kaye recorded on all of the tracks on her second CD, Ready To Cheat, and on her newest CD Back In Love Again, released February 14 at Fitzgeralds in Berwyn. Kaye holds Monday and Wednesday night open jam sessions in Chicago, performing with his brother Greg Kaye as Brothers K and The Rock Bottom Blues Band. He is also a regular with Mike Gibb and the Home Wreckers. Gibb and Kaye were with Greeson in November 2001 at the Sarasote Blues Fest in Florida, opening for Delbert McClinton, Clarence Gatemouth Brown and Hubert Sumlin. Kaye says he was raised on Muddy Waters Led Zeppelin and Jack Bruce, perfecting a solid bass foundation that has taken him across North America for nearly 20 years working with Joe Kelley, Bo Diddley, Screamin Jay Hawkins and Junior Wells.
Bender met Ditzell while they were both playing for Junior Wells, gigging together for 10 years. When Buddy Guy and Wells
branched off, Bender went with Buddy Guys band, Ditzell with Wells. Bender went on to work with guitar master Albert Collins. His most recent regular gig was with Deborah Coleman and he is currently freelancing.
Steve Ditzell fans wont want to miss this one. The boys plan to make it a party, and its free. For more information, call Rockys at 877-0378.