Steve Freund: “C” for Chicago

Although Brooklyn-born guitarist Steve Freund currently resides in sunny California, he declares his unabashed love of the Windy City on his solo debut, “C” for Chicago (Delmark 734; 61:11). A longtime sideman to pianist Sunnyland Slim as well as such blues luminaries as Big Walter Horton, Koko Taylor and James Cotton, Freund grinds out Chicago flavored, juke joint originals and well chosen covers with the help of special guests Kim Wilson on harmonica, David Maxwell on piano and Boz Scaggs on guitar. He hits the mark most convincingly on B.B. King’s “Please Love Me,” Albert King’s “Wild Woman” and infectious South Side shuffles like his “Highway Woman” and “I Love Money.” Another treat is a horn-driven rendition of the Stax/Voltish Michael Bloomfield/Nick Gravenites tune, “Working Man.” A welcome homecoming.