Vince’s Notes: Sunday blues jam spawns all-star blues collaboration

By Vince Chiarelli

Since introducing the Sunday blues jam two months ago, Kryptonite Bar, 308 W. State St., has hosted an impressive array of artists, including virtuoso saxophonist Richie Cole, a former Tonight Show band member. Local blues stand-outs “Barstool” Bob Levis and Ron Holm co-anchor the Kryptonite house band.

Blues guitar aficionados around the world admire the body of work that Levis has created over the last three decades. He is recognized as one of the finest rhythm guitar players in the Chicago blues guitar tradition, and was a touring member of the famous Otis Rush band.

Holm, a singer, harmonicist and guitarist, performed with such blues legends as Odetta, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.

Describing the blues jam concept, Holm explained: “We ensure that everybody gets a chance to perform during the blues jam. Our house band starts the night with a few tunes. Then, we’re ready to accompany other artists or to yield the stage if several jammers are ready to perform without us.”

Musicians who would like to jam can e-mail or visit to sign up, although “walk-in” performers are welcome. More information about Kryptonite is available at

As a result of their Kryptonite jam collaboration, Levis and Holm are planning a 7 p.m., June 29, blues night at Tempo Bistro in the Best Western Clock Tower Resort, 7801 E. State St. Notable guitarist John Bishoff and legendary blues belter Odessa Barmore will add their unique guitar and vocal talents, respectively. Fellow Kryptonite jammer and percussion favorite Jeff Werkle and Madison’s Dave Wood provide the rhythm section.

Tempo Bistro features Italian cuisine in a festive nightclub setting that sports a dance floor, stage, dining tables, professional sound and lighting, and an adjacent bar.

Tempo entertainment manager and award-winning saxophonist Harlan Jefferson ( purveys talent for Tempo, which features some of the area’s finest soul, jazz and variety music, as well as comedy. Information regarding the June 29 event is available at or by phoning (815) 979-1949. General information about Tempo Bistro is available at, or by phoning (815) 229-4545. (or visit Tempo Italian Bistro Facebook page).

Rockford’s Crossroads Blues Society (CBS) ( supports blues in the Rockford area, and helped kick off the Kryptonite blues jam. Many CBS members have attended the Sunday blues jam, both as performers and audience members.

June 22, CBS’s first-ever Field of Blues festival occurs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Aviator Stadium, 4503 Interstate Blvd., Loves Park, Ill., rain or shine with stadium or lawn seating. Tickets are $10 advance and $15 at the door.

The festival features blues luminaries such as Lil’ Ed, Willie Buck, Tail Dragger, Dave Weld, Toronzo Cannon, Aaron Williams, and the Flaming Mudcats. Additional information is available at or by phoning (779) 537-4006.

Holm summarized: “We hope music lovers see the June 29 event as a continuation of the Field of Blues Festival. It’s great the way that venues, performers and organizations work together to support blues in our community.”

From the June 12-18, 2013, issue

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