Friday Night Headliner

Grammy-nominated ‘Roomful of Blues’
to party with the rib crowd

By Konnie McCollum
Contributing Writer

(Aug. 11, 2006) – The Madison Ribberfest committee boasts one of the strongest lineups of blues bands in the festival’s five-year existence, and this year tops off the Friday night performances with Roomful of Blues.

Roomful of Blues

Photo provided

‘Roomful of Blues’ takes the
stage at 10 p.m. Friday.

This Rhode Island-based group has earned five Grammy Award nominations and will take the stage at 10 p.m. Friday. Called the “party’s party band” by Blues Beat Magazine, the nationally prominent band has been around since 1967.
The band began in Westerly, R.I., when legendary guitarist Duke Robillard and keyboardist Al Copley started a band that played tough, no-holds-barred Chicago blues. They soon began experimenting with the swinging, jumping blues, R&B and jazz of the 1940s and 1950s and added a horn section in 1970.
Over the years, there have been at least 44 Roomful of Blues members, each bringing a unique element to the musical mix. While the lineup has changed, the music has remained a deeply-rooted, horn-driven blend of swing, rock and roll, blues and soul. The band has always featured a stellar horn section.
Currently, the lineup includes guitarist Chris Vachon, vocalist-harpist Mark DuFresne, bassist Brad Hallen, drummer Jason Corbiere, keyboardist Travis Colby, baritone and tenor saxophonist Mark Earley, longtime member tenor and alto saxophonist Rich Lataille, and trumpeter Bob Enos, also a longtime member.
For the past 36 years of almost non-stop performances, Roomful of Blues has produced numerous albums and toured the world many times over. The band has played countless gigs and many major festivals, including the San Francisco Blues Festival, the King Biscuit Blues Festival, the Beale Street Music Festival, Blues On The Fox, Illinois Blues Festival, Monterey Blues Festival and the Santa Cruz Blues Festival. Overseas, the band has played at the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Stockholm Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival and the Belgian Peer Festival. They’ve played with stars ranging from B.B. King, Otis Rush and Stevie Ray Vaughan to rockers Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana.
USA Today said: “With their masterful combination of jumping, hard-edged blues and R&B, it’s no wonder why the great Count Basie called them the hottest blues band he had ever heard.”
DownBeat magazine claims the band “is in a class all by itself.”
Apparently, others agree because in addition to the Grammy nominations, the band has received numerous accolades and won several other awards, including four Blues Music Awards. In 2004, they won two Blues Music Awards, “Instrumentalist of the Year-Horns,” and the coveted “Blues Band of the Year.”
The band’s latest work, “Standing Room Only,” has garnered praise throughout the industry. Freetime Magazine said the album “earns its title because it is too arousing for listeners to sit back to.” It also said, “Roomful of Blues has become a venerable musical institution since forming 36 years ago, and the swagger that comes with that is clearly evident on their latest release.”
Madison fans, both longtime and new converts, can see for themselves at this year’s Ribberfest why the San Francisco Examiner called it “the hottest, most solid and wonderfully entertaining band around.”

Back to 2006 Ribberfest Articles.



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