News from Bob Corritore

Posted on 6/09/2010 by Monica Yasher


Advance tickets available for June 10th Harp & Soul Festival. Harp & Soul Festival at SPACE in Evanston. This year's Blues On The North Shore will be a harmonica festival called Harp & Soul, which happens on June 10th, 8pm, at SPACE in Evanston, Illinois. Bob Corritore will kick off the event with a set featuring Billy Flynn on and guitar vocals, Chris James on guitar and vocals, Bob Riedy on piano, Patrick Rynn on bass, Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith on drums, and a guest appearance by the legendary Sam Lay. This set will also serve as a CD pre-release party for Bob's new CD, Harmonica Blues on the Delta Groove label. Other sets in the Harp & Soul Festival feature Willie "Big Eyes" Smith (who has a new CD with Pinetop Perkins on Telarc), Rob Stone (who has a new CD out on the Earwig label), and Grady Champion (this year's winner of the International Blues Challenge). Emceeing the event will be Bill Wax, host of B.B. King’s Bluesville on Sirius/XM Satellite radio. This show will be the unofficial pre-party for the 2010 Chicago Blues Festival which kicks off its 3 day run the next day.Thanks to Lynn Orman and Scott Shuman for producing, organizing, and promoting Harp & Soul.

Bob Corritore to do a June 14 harmonica seminar at the Old Town School Of Folk Music in Chicago! Each Monday night, harmonica master Joe Filisko (of Filisko & Noden fame) teaches a class for some of the most dedicated blues harmonica students in Chicago. His classes have become a Chicago subculture, and his students are well known for their knowledge and proficiency. Bob Corritore will be a guest of this wonderful gathering on Monday, June 14th. The event takes place at the Old Town School Of Folk Music at 4544 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625-2103, (773) 728-6000. Joe will kick off the class at 6:30 with Bob appearing around 8pm. There is no cover charge, and visitors are welcome, but non-class members are asked to make reservations by emailing Please note that the legendary Jerry Portnoy will also be a guest speaker in this class on September 13, 2010.
Amanda's harmonica extravaganza is named, expanded, and tickets are now on sale! Amanda Taylor is no stranger to good blues harmonica, being the current wife of Kim Wilson and the former wife of Greg "Fingers" Taylor. She has put together a brilliant lineup of some of the greatest traditional harmonica masters on the scene today, for a show she has christened "Amanda's Rollercoaster" (named after the Little Walter instumental "Roller Coaster.") The 3 night event happens on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, 2010 at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix. Acts include James Cotton, Billy Boy Arnold, Lazy Lester, Kim Wilson, Paul Oscher, James Harman, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Johnny Dyer, Bharath Rajakumar, Johnny Sansone, Jerry Portnoy, Dave Waldman, Bob Corritore, RJ Mischo, Steve Marriner, Billy Flynn, Chef Denis Depoitre, Vincent Bury, and more! Amanda has constructed a website for the event and a few preliminary tickets have been put on sale. Please note there are a very limited number of tickets for this show so best to order tickets now.

Gary Allegretto's Harmonikids program returns from Haiti. Harmonica player and goodwill missionary, Gary Allegretto recently returned from Port Au Prince, Haiti where he brought his music therapy program called Harmonikids to bring comfort to the children of this earthquake stricken area. Thanks Gary, for your continued goodwill offerings, and for channeling the magic of blues harmonica into a healing force.

Wolf Records to release a CD of 70's and 80's recordings by R.L. Burnside! The late R.L. Burnside, along with Fat Possum Records, spearheaded a movement that popularized Mississippi blues for a new generation. R.L.'s larger than life personality, a spellbinding, hypnotic approach to blues, and his rich, southern voice were all parts of his successful formula. He passed away in 2005 after converting hundreds of thousands of young people into blues fans. Wolf Records has announced the June 7th release of R.L. Burnside / Rollin' & Tumblin, with 19 songs and an interview, all recorded in 1975, 1981, and 1982 on R.L.'s front porch.


Simi Valley Festival Reflection. Special thanks to Randy Chortkoff and everyone from Delta Groove Records for successfully and inspirationally hosting the blues stage at the Simi Valley Cajun and Creole Festival last Saturday and Sunday. The Delta Groove roster (including artists on sister label Eclecto Groove) was shown to great advantage at this two day festival with performances by the Hollywood Blue Flames, Elvin Bishop, The Mannish Boys, Mitch Kashmar, The Soul of John Black, Mike Zito, Kirk Fletcher, Arthur Adams, Candye Kane (with guest appearance by Bob Corritore), Lynwood Slim with the Igor Prado Band, The Jackie Payne / Steve Edmondson Band, Los Fabulocos featuring Kid Ramos, and The Insomniacs. the Delta Groove label has created a family feeling for its artists, and its multi-band presentations. The Delta Groove label has recently opened a booking agency called Festivals Exclusive which promises more great events to come!


Buddy Guy's Legends moves to new location! Buddy Guy's Legends has been a leading force in bringing blues to the heart of Chicago. It is the Chicago stop for most touring blues acts. After years of hearing about changing venue locations, Legends officially opens today at its new address on 700 S. Wabash Avenue, with a show by Shannon Curfman.

Rhythm Room acknowledged by 944 Magazine! Phoenix's 944 magazine has declared the Rhythm Room "Small Music Venue Worth The Price Of Admission" in their current "944 Pics" issue! Thanks for these kind words.


RIP Willie Pooch - 1937 to May 5th, 2010 Columbus, Ohio based blues singer Willie Pooch passed away on May 5th, 2010 from diabetes complications. He was 72. Born William Johnson in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1937, Willie grew to be a spectacular vocalist and entertainer. He was a huge part of the Columbus, Ohio Blues Scene and will be greatly missed by his community. He recorded and great CD with Cadillac Zak called The Blues Do Something To Me.

RIP Larry Dale - January 7, 1923 to May 19 2010. Guitarist/vocalist Larry Dale is best known for 1950s and '60s session work in New York which yielded many great sides. His amazing vocals could transport a song to an other-worldly quality but he also was a fine guitarist who would be called into recording sessions as an accompanist to other vocalists. Born Ennis Lowery on January 7th, 1927 in Wharton Texas, he would later move to New York where he would record sides for Atlantic, Jax, Herald, Groove, Vik, and Glover. In addition to his own fine recordings, he played on sessions with Champion Jack Dupree, Bob Gaddy, Paul Williams, Big Red McHouston, Mr. Bear, Cootie Williams, and others. He passed away on Wednesday at his apartment in New York. He was 86 years old.

RIP Rene Solis Sept 1954 - April 2010. We have word that beloved bay area guitarist/vocalist Rene Solis has passed away. He was 55. Rene was the leader of Nite Cry, a band which, years ago, also featured a young Tommy Castro. Rene also worked with John Lee Hooker, Luther Tucker, Coco Montoya, and Debbie Davies. Thank you Rene, for a life devoted to the blues.

RIP Esther Mabry (aka Mama Nip) - May 25, 1920 to May 31, 2010 - She was 90 years old. Esther Mabry is best known in the Oakland, California area for owning and operating a legendary blues club called Esther's Orbit Room. After moving from Texas to Oakland in her early 20s, she opened Esther's Breakfast Room in 1950. Nine years later, she and her husband William bought the building and expanded it to offer live music and cocktails. So began Esther's Orbit Room, a club that would be known in the Bay Area for appearances by B.B. King, Charles Brown, Lou Rawls, T-Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Ike & Tina Turner, Jimmy McCracklin, Big Mama Thornton, Lowell Fulson, Al Green, Etta James, and others. The club ran until just last year, when Esther's health problems dictated that she close the business after its glorious 59 year run. Esther was a behind the scenes hero of the blues who was not well known outside of her community, but people like Esther are the backbone and the spirit of this industry. and the provider of a place for blues musicians to play. God bless you Esther for all you did.


Bob Corritore is one of the most active and highly regarded blues harmonica players on the scene today. His style passionately carries forward the old school of playing that Corritore learned as a young man directly from many of original pioneers of Chicago Blues. His sympathetic, yet fiery harmonica playing is featured on over 25 releases to date, on labels such as HighTone, HMG, Blue Witch, Blind Pig, Earwig, Putumayo, Random Chance, and the VizzTone Label Group. Many of these acclaimed releases have been nominated for various Handy, Grammy, and Blues Music Awards. Bob is also widely recognized for his many roles in the blues, as band leader, club owner, record producer, radio show host, arts foundation founder, and occasional writer. His amazing website and his weekly e-newsletter reflect a life thoroughly invested in the blues.

Born on September 27, 1956 in Chicago, Bob first heard Muddy Waters on the radio at age 12, an event which changed his life forever. Within a year, he was playing harmonica and collecting blues albums. He would see blues shows in his early teens, including attending a Muddy Waters performance at his high school gymnasium. He would cut his teeth sitting in with John Henry Davis on Maxwell Street until he was old enough to sneak into blues clubs. He hung around great harp players such as Big Walter Horton, Little Mack Simmons, Louis Myers, Junior Wells, Big John Wrencher, and Carey Bell, and received harmonica tips and encouragement from many of them. He would regularly see the Aces, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Billy Boy Arnold, John Brim, Sunnyland Slim, Smokey Smothers, Eddie Taylor, and in many cases became personal friends with these blues veterans. Corritore worked with Tail Dragger, Big Moose Walker, Willie Buck, Louis and Dave Myers, and Eddie Taylor in the late 70s and early 80s. He also produced his first recordings during that time, taking unheralded harmonica greats such as Little Willie Anderson and Big Leon Brooks into the studio to produce their now classic debut albums.

In 1981, Bob ventured southwest to live in Phoenix, Arizona. Within months, his Chicagoland friend Louisiana Red joined Bob, and the two played together around Phoenix for about a year until Red went to live in Germany. Bob quickly joined up with Big Pete Pearson, who was and is the reigning King of Arizona Blues in a musical relationship that continues to this day. He also worked around the southwest with Buddy Reed, Tommy Dukes, Chief Schabuttie Gilliame, and an emerging Janiva Magness in one of her earliest bands. In 1984, Bob supplemented his performances with a blues radio show called Those Lowdown Blues on KJZZ, which is still going strong. In 1986, former Howlin' Wolf drummer Chico Chism moved to Phoenix at Bob's invitation to start a 20 year partnership that lasted until Chico's passing in 2007. In 1991, Bob opened the now famous Blues and Roots Concert Club, The Rhythm Room. Having a club created yet another catalyst for Bob's musical projects. Often he would invite great artists to come to Phoenix, and Bob's band, the Rhythm Room All-Stars would back them on shows and in recording sessions. Bob's archives of these sessions are now famous, and include sessions with Bo Diddley, Little Milton, John Brim, Jimmy Rogers, Henry Gray, Pinetop Perkins, Henry Townsend, Honeyboy Edwards, Big Jack Johnson, Ike Turner, Smokey Wilson. Lil’ Ed, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Nappy Brown, R.L. Burnside, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Sam Lay, Barbara Lynn, and numerous others.

In 1999, Bob released his first CD as a national recording artist, combining some of the highlights of his vaults. The CD was called All-Star Blues Sessions, and was released on the HighTone record label to great fanfare. This momentum created a long series of CDs on HighTone with Bob in the harmonica player/producer role. Bob started breaking into the national circuit in festival appearances with Henry Gray and Louisiana Red. In 2005, Bob brought the Rhythm Room All-Stars Featuring Big Pete Pearson to The Marco Fiume Blues Passions Festival in Italy, which opened a whole new world of European interest in Bob's harmonica artistry. This led to return visits to Europe for various festivals and performances, as well as an ever-growing world-wide fan base. In 2007, the Mayor of Phoenix officially proclaimed September 29, 2007 to be "Bob Corritore Day" in honor of Bob's musical contributions to his community. Also that year, Bob received a "Keeping The Blues Alive" award from the Blues Foundation. Bob's 2007 collaboration with Dave Riley, Travelin' The Dirt Road, was nominated for a Blues Music Award. Bob also contributed harmonica work on the 2008 Grammy®-nominated CD/DVD by Pinetop Perkins, On The 88s. Bob 's prolific activity with the Blue Witch record label as label producer/harmonica player has garnered him additional notoriety. Bob performs regularly with The Rhythm Room All-Stars Featuring Big Pete Pearson, and numerous side projects with Dave Riley, Louisiana Red, Henry Gray, Sam Lay, Tomcat Courtney, Paris James, and others.

For more information, please contact:
Bob Corritore
Phone: (480)994-1234

Copyright © 2010 Copyright Monica L. Yasher and Bob Corritore. All Rights Reserved.
Photos courtesy of Bob Corritore

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