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New City Chicago

Chicago's long time blues entertainer brings his high-octane show to the Blue Door.

Until the recent swing trend (is it over?), Milt Trenier already had his niche going as a Nat Cole/Billy Eckstine ballad singer in the jazz mode. As a recent appearance at Liquid proved, he is no stranger to the glories of bootin' R&B. He performed with his brothers Claude, Cliff and Buddy in the Treniers during their houserocking heyday, when they serenaded listeners with politically correct diatribes like "Poon-Tang!" and "Get Out Of The Car."

In recent years, he helmed Milt Trenier's Lounge right here in Chicago, one of those old-school Pump Room-styled establishments with celebrity pictures on the wall. Oddly, right when the whole retro-cocktail-lounge fad was peaking (1997), Trenier's was forced to close after twenty years, proof that Chicagoans don't always know what they have when it's there. Milt has played continuously around town since then, but interest from the rockabilly set has upped the energy level.

Now half the set are blastin' R&B wailers, he makes snide jokes about the audience's sexual habits, and he even makes "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" rock the house. Although he played straight man to his twin brothers Cliff and Claude in the fifties, he is still a blood-brother Trenier who can cut up when he has to. There ain't no secret behind the Blue Door...Milt's got the heart of an all-around entertainer, the soul of a true survivor, and the balls of a brass monkey.

James Porter, New City Chicago

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