Japan Blues Carnival 2001

Selected by Dan Grunebaum

Otis Rush

Hubert Sumlin

Eric Johnson

Magic Slim

Eric Sardinas
Photos by Smash

The venerable Japan Blues Carnival rolls back into town for its 16th installment at the outdoor Hibiya Yagai Ongakudo. With the focus on Chicago blues, this year' festival features old-school Windy City headliners Otis Rush, Magic Slim and Hubert Sumlin, in addition to young blues-rock upstart Eric Sardinas and local favorites Masaki Ueda and Kotez & Yancy.

Following the blues trail from Mississippi to Chicago in the late '40s, guitarist/vocalist Otis Rush has recently received his dues as one of the great Chicago bluesmen, after years of playing second fiddle to Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Lightnin Hopkins and the like. Hitting the R&B Top Ten in 1956 with his first recording, "I Can't Quit You Baby," Rush left a body of work on the Cobra and Chess labels in the '50s and '60s before falling out of the public eye. After 16 years without a new studio album, Rush finally got on the comeback trail with Ain't Enough Comin' In in 1994. More recently, Rush signed with the fledgling House of Blues label, associated with the popular live house of the same name.

Also from Mississippi, Magic Slim arrived in Chicago in 1955, making a name for himself on the South Side in the '60s with his band the Teardrops. With formidable vocals and a vibrato-drenched guitar sound, Slim laid down a number of landmark recordings in the '70s for Rooster Blues, Alligator and Blind Pig labels.

From West Memphis, Arkansas, Hubert Sumlin relocated to Chicago where he became Howlin Wolf's guitarist and apprentice for more than two decades. Stepping out on his own after the big man's death in 1976, Sumlin has proven to be not only a great guitarist but also a competent singer on a number of solo outings for Black Top and Blind Pig.

Bursting on the scene in the '90s, Eric Sardinas is known as a master of the Dobro slide guitar. Busking on the streets of Los Angeles for a living, he soon formed the Eric Sardinas Project (ESP), which performed nearly 300 shows a year before being asked to open for Johnny Winter. ESP signed to Evidence Records for their 1999 debut album, Treat Me Right.

Japan Blues Carnival 2001 takes place at Hibiya Yagai Ongakudo on May 26-27. See listings for details.

Concert Listings
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana