Chicago has bid adieu to old blues music and welcomed a new legion of players, many foreign-born, who are transforming the city's low-down tradition, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Largely abandoned by blacks, the blues has moved from Chicago's shuttered South- and West-Side clubs to the friendlier, gentrified North Side—where players from Japan and Israel can be seen jamming with white musicians.
Some old-school Chicagoans feel blue about the trend, decrying electric sounds, lack of soul, or a disconnect with past greats. "There is a crisis," says one bar owner who updates a database on dead blues players. But guitarist Shun Kikuta sees today's music as a transition: "We still do play the 12-bar style, but the sound is much heavier," he says, thanks to "funk and rock influences."