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TINSLEY ELLIS HAS CLUB AUDIENCE DANCING

Tinsley Ellis came all the way from Atlanta to treat Salt Lake's Zephyr Club audience to the blues - played just the way audience likes it.

The band doesn't try to be striking or different. It's a rarity, though, a pure blues-jazz band in 1994. It carries that traditional, welcome and lovable sound that Louis Armstrong, Magic Sam, Freddy King, and Junior Wells made great.The band was comfortable on stage, as vivacious as a laid-back blues band from four Southern states can be. Ellis, the guitarist-singer of the three-guitar plus one drum band, comes from Georgia. He picked up the other three band members from Mississippi and Virginia.

They carry seasoned performers' confidence and wring out blues classics (and newborn tunes) with flair. There was lots of dancing in the audience. Couples were dancing, twirling as modern club dancing rarely sees.

Simultaneously relaxing and exciting, Tinsley Ellis exemplifies the blues-jazz genre. The band obliged the blues-jazz lovers with cherished classics. Oldies, like Freddy King's "Sidetracked," and "Devil for a Dime," brought applause, and approval followed for the original compositions like "A Quitter Never Wins," which sounds just like an old blues classic. But it was written for the 1994 album "Storm Warning," by Tinsley Ellis.

An active bass nailed the music to the floor while a fast and furious Ellis on bass guitar sent his speedy fingers flying around his guitar. Ellis sang in the style of the jazz greats - his voice sang sometimes a little faster than, or sometimes a little slower than the tempo of the song. Sometimes his words tumbled out on top of one another, and then he waited for the music to catch up before singing the next phrase.

In the middle of an ecstatic guitar bridge, more than once, Tinsley Ellis suddenly broke the music off completely, except for a gentle beat from the drummer. The clink of drinking glasses and the chatter of the crowd sounded huge, all of a sudden. Then, bang. A loud drumbeat pulled the band back into the song, swinging the beautiful blues. Volume variation, intermittent hoots between Ellis and a crowd member, and changes in intensity and speed kept the music wonderfully interesting.

The music opened up from the inside, not hyping excitement, but smoothing out passion in catchy rhythms and dramatic crescendos. It hung in the air after the last sound stops. People didn't want to leave when it did.