From the shores of Lake Michigan to the shadows of a saguaro cactus in the Sonoran desert, Bob Corritore’s route through the American Blues landscape is an unlikely travelogue. Corritore, a Chicago native, has been the proprietor of the world renowned, Rhythm Room in Phoenix, Arizona for almost 20 years. The valley of the sun had not been a hot bed of Blues until the harp blowing Corritore swung into town like a hot desert wind. Corritore constitutes a virtual one man Blues revival in the desert.
Bob Corritore is a triple threat in a business full of specialists. Besides being a nightclub owner, Corritore is a Bluesman and radio personality. He is a mean harp player firmly rooted in the Chicago tradition and is the host of a weekly Blues program Those Lowdown Blues on Phoenix’s KJZZ 91.5 FM from 6pm – 11pm (MST) on Sundays.
Corritore has a 2010 album out on Delta groove records entitled: Bob Corritore and Friends: Harmonica Blues. If you are Bob, those friends just happen to be some of the greatest Blues legends on the planet. The album features Corritore’s muscular Blues harp playing in various ensembles with these musical icons. At 15 songs and 61 minutes, this generous helping of Chicago style blues is somewhat bitter sweet in that several of the performers on this recording have left us in recent years. The album opens with a mid tempo Chicago shuffle where Corritore’s harp meshes with Bob Margolin’s tasteful guitar lines backing the late great queen of the Blues, Koko Taylor. The album ends with a tune sung by one of the greatest singers and guitar players ever to walk the face of the earth, Little Milton, who left us in 2005. The late Robert Jr. Lockwood is heard playing and singing on this record with the same depth and character he exhibited throughout his long career. Many other greats join Bob on each of the albums other fine tracks.
Corritore’s Rhythm Room is a “Cen – Pho” Blues hot spot and an important stopover for traveling musicians on their way to and from the West Coast. The desert oasis of Blues is in the middle of a sprawling metropolis and has hosted virtually every imaginable Blues act over the past two decades.
The Rhythm Room however has never seen or heard the likes of what took place this past weekend. The venerable night club hosted one of the most talent laden weekends of Blues ever. Bob Corritore helped to facilitate this event of epic proportions called Amanda’s Rollercoaster. The entire three day Blues extravaganza was produced by Amanda May. Amanda is a young Blues fan whose exceptional taste and passion for Blues music is unrivaled. Her affinity for Blues harp is obvious. It is why she put together a three day event, named after a Little Walter song, at the Rhythm Room that featured some of the greatest harp players in the world. Everybody from James Cotton, Al Blake, Billy Boy Arnold, Lazy Lester, James Harmon, Jerry Portnoy, Kim Wilson to Corritore himself, as well as many other world class players graced the Rhythm Room stage for this event. They were backed by an all-star assemblage of musicians including guitarists Jr. Watson, Hubert Sumlin and Billy Flynn, Bassist Larry Taylor, Pianist Barrel House Chuck and Drummer Richard Innes. Wilson’s Fabulous Thunderbirds played and backed several of the harmonica players as well.
BLUES JUNCTION Productions will have more coverage of this historic event on this site next week.