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Rich McDonough 

(Wednesday night, Beale on Broadway)

The bandleader and lead guitar player is demonstrating some of the most virtuous and beautiful blues variations I've ever heard performed live before -- jump blues, I think. Rich McDonough. My brain lights up in disbelief over what it's hearing. You'd think he was born with some pre-existing knowledge of how to work that guitar, or maybe he's just touched in the best possible way. Or maybe this is just one of those nights when everything he knows comes rolling together like magic and he's not even thinking about it, not even trying. Maybe he doesn't have to anymore. His band follows along with equal virtuosity. I don't know anything technical about music and don't have the heart to pretend. I'm just glad I'm here and so is my brain.

Outside a freight train pulls a long line of Pullmans slowly across the railroad bridge over Broadway. Out on the street you can hear them sneezing into the night, glistening in the shallow pockets of light, and everything's all right in the universe, or at least on Broadway, if only for a couple more sets.

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