Specter (born May 21, 1963, Chicago, Illinois, United States) is an
American Chicago blues and jazz guitarist.
Hailing from Chicago's Northwest side, Specter began to learn to play the
guitar at the age of 18. His teacher was Steve Freund, who taught Specter
between the latter's duties at Jazz Record Mart, and Delmark Records. Freund
ultimately organised a concert tour for Specter alongside Sam Lay and Hubert
Sumlin. Contacts made while working at the B.L.U.E.S. nightclub secured gigs
as a sideman to Johnny Littlejohn, Son Seals, and The Legendary Blues Band.
By 1989 Specter had organized his own backing band, known as the Bluebirds.
Specter does not sing, and he enlisted Barkin' Bill Smith as his first
vocalist, performing on Specter's 1991 debut album, Bluebird Blues. Specter
then made a guest appearance with Jesse Fortune, providing accompaniment on
Fortune Tellin' Man (1993). Harmonica player and singer
Tad Robinson took over on the Bluebirds'
Blueplicity (1994) and Live in Europe (1995). Following Robinson's
departure, Lynwood Slim became the band's vocalist.
Jazz influences prevailed as time passed, and Specter invited Brother Jack
McDuff to play the Hammond organ on the next album, Left Turn on Blue
(1996). Lenny Lynn took over vocal duties on the following release, Blues
Spoken Here (1998). In 2000, Speculatin' appeared, but here Specter eschewed
vocals altogether, issuing thirteen instrumental tracks. Is What It Is
(2004) was followed by Live in Chicago (2008).
In addition to his recordings, Specter undertakes frequent tours to Europe