Steve Ditzell

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A blues guitarist with an inborn knack for timing and phrasing, Steve Ditzell has performed consistently since 1976. He started out in Chicago where he performed on the Blues Stage at the Chicago Fest,…
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A blues guitarist with an inborn knack for timing and phrasing, Steve Ditzell has performed consistently since 1976. He started out in Chicago where he performed on the Blues Stage at the Chicago Fest, and went on to tour the U.S. and Canada with Fenton Robinson Band. By 1979, he had joined Koko Taylor & her Blues Machine and toured Mexico with Son Seals, Willie Dixon, Blind John Davis, and Muddy Waters. In 1980, he not only opened for Bob Marley & the Wailers in California but was the lead guitarist for Big Mama Thornton & the Jay McShann Jazz Orchestra in New York City's Carnegie Hall. He kept his connection with Koko Taylor over the years and shared the Carnegie Hall stage with her in 1980, going on to record live with her at the Chicago Fest. During 1981 and 1982, Ditzell once again toured the U.S. and Canada, this time with the Junior Wells and Buddy Guy blues band. He returned to the Chicago Fest in 1983 to play with Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Junior Wells. In 1989 he headed for Brazil to tour, still in the talented company of Junior Wells, Albert Collins, and Buddy Guy. With his flamboyant guitar style and vocals that left a haunting echo, Ditzell often gigged with Junior Wells during the '90s. They played almost every year at the Chicago Blues Fest and Taste of Chicago, and in 1994 they toured France and Switzerland together. In 1993, Ditzell formed his own band, the Blue Lightning Band (Dave Kaye on bass, Marty Binder on drums), which played at many festivals, and in 1996 the band won the Best of Rockford Award. The band was nominated for the award during 1997 and 1998, and in 1999 it won once again. Ditzell was also nominated for the RAMI award in 1999. Besides being a featured performer at the Chicago Blues Festival for the special tribute to Junior Wells, Ditzell also performed at Brookfest where he opened for Guess Who. And once again he shared the stage with Koko Taylor, this time at the Rockford Blues Festival. After the turn of the century, almost 25 years from the start of his performing career, Ditzell was still a featured performer, being heard at Grove Walk and again at the Rockford Blues Festival. Ditzell and his Blue Lightning Band started working on their first CD during 2001, capturing his unique ability to lean his blues-playing in the direction of rock.