Playing Around: Roomful of Blues 

click to enlarge Roomful of Blues
  • Roomful of Blues

Ah, Roomful of Blues. The Menudo of blues music. In 1968, guitarist Duke Robillard formed the legendary group, and it has been in a constant state of evolution ever since, losing members, adding members, gaining influences. Currently, the veteran member in the eight-member band is tenor and alto saxophonist Rich Lataille, who has been playing with Roomful since 1970. In fact, it was his interest in '30s and '40s swing that brought about what's become the band's trademark sound.

Unlike Menudo, the members of Roomful have impressive musical histories. Bassist Thom Enright, drummer Mark Greenberg, guitarist Chris Vachon, keyboardist Hank Walther, trombone player Ray Gennan, vocalist Mac Odom and trumpet player Bob "Bubba" Enos have each played with previous groups and musicians, most recording an album or two. Such diverse backgrounds -- bebop, country, soul, reggae, jazz, R&B, fusion, rock, etc. -- create a bubbling musical melting pot of sound based on the rollicking blues of days past, and it's gained Roomful of Blues four Grammy Award nominations since 1983. The horn section alone has won the W.C. Handy Award.

Roomful of Blues will be making a rare area appearance up the pass at Tres Saturday night. Tickets are $15.


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