"Swingin' jump blues and R&B...high-voltage yet classy."
- USA today
Roomful of Blues
For nearly half a century, Roomful of Blues has been delivering its signature blend of swing, rock ‘n’ roll, jump, blues and R&B to euphoric audiences all over the world. Blues Revue says, “Roomful of Blues is a sheer joy...contagious, finger-popping, head-bopping grooves...the horns blast loud and proud...explosive and electrifying.” The band has earned five Grammy Award nominations and a slew of other accolades, including seven Blues Music Awards. Twice, the prestigious DownBeat International Critics Poll has selected them as Best Blues Band. With their masterful combination of jumping, horn-heavy blues and R&B, it’s no wonder why the great Count Basie called them “the hottest blues band I’ve ever heard.” Billboard simply says, “Roomful is so tight and so right.”
To commemorate and celebrate their 45th anniversary, the band hosted a three-day party in March of 2013 at one of their favorite haunts, The Ocean Mist, in Matunuck, Rhode Island. The band blew the doors off the packed club, playing to roaring ovations each night. Happily, the proceedings were recorded and the resulting album, 45 Live, is among Roomful of Blues’ crowning achievements. The album is a lightning-in-a-bottle blowout, showcasing the larger-than-life vocal and instrumental power of the band.
45 Live, produced by bandleader/guitarist Chris Vachon, features fourteen songs (over an hour of music) spanning the entirety of the band’s history. The tracks were carefully chosen by Vachon, who included some of the group’s best known originals, like Dressed Up To Get Messed Up, Turn It On, Turn It Up, and That’s Right!, as well as tunes the band had previously recorded or performed with blues giants Joe Turner (Crawdad Hole), Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson (Somebody’s Got To Go) and Earl King (It All Went Down The Drain). 45 Live is a flawlessly blended mix of rocking guitar, punching horns, room-filling vocals, serious musicianship and unbridled creativity. The results are a non-stop, hip-shaking party. It’s clear why The New Yorker described a Roomful concert as “thunderous performances that get feet stomping and hands clapping.”
Roomful of Blues, according to DownBeat magazine, “are in a class by themselves.” The band has been led since 1998 by Vachon, who, according to Guitar Player, “burns with explosive solos and a delightfully greasy sense of rhythm.” Roomful of Blues has always maintained its signature sound through great musicianship and a stellar horn section—featuring tenor and alto saxophonist (and clarinetist on 45 Live’s Jambalaya) Rich Lataille, who first joined the band in 1970. Lataille’s masterful playing can evoke either the fat-toned, honking sax of the glory days of early rock or the cool elegance of big band swing jazz.
With 45 Live, Roomful of Blues has fully captured the frenetic energy and musical power of their live show. The band will hit the road hard once again, so people can see and hear for themselves why The Chicago Sun-Times said, “This is a band on top of its game, sliding easily from big-band jazz-blues to guitar-drenched urban blues...let the party begin.”