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The Starlet Room presents 


Blues & Bourbon: Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88s


Wed, August 24, 2022

Doors: 5:30pm / Show: 6:30pm


$18 General Admission - $15 SBS Members

TICKETS

This event is all ages

Bourbon & Blues: Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88s

 

Nominated for the 2022 "Living Blues Awards for Most Outstanding Musician-Keyboard"


Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88s have been the torchbearers of a great American blues musical heritage, not for three years but over three decades. Taking their inspiration from the great jump n’ boogie outfits of the late 40s and early 50s, they breathe fresh life into the music that gave birth to rock n’roll. Woods styled his group after the jumpin’ n’ jivin’, shoutin’ n’ honkin’, pumpin’ n’ poundin’ bands of Louis Jordan, Wynonie Harris, Joe and Jimmy Liggins, Amos Milburn, and Roy Milton. Adding a healthy dose of New Orleans rhythm and blues, piledrivin’ piano, and some of his own contemporary playful lyrics, Woods and His Rocket 88s forge their own brand of music they call “rock-a-boogie.” Born in Brooklyn in 1951, Mitch Woods began playing classical piano at eleven, but his real initiation into blues and boogie piano had already been assured at age eight. “My mom would hire this superintendent of the building, a black man, Mr. Brown, to take me to school, and we stopped off at his cousin’s house, where somebody was playing boogie-woogie piano. It really hit me.”


Woods was putting together bands in Greenwich Village by his mid-teens. By the time he entered the University of Buffalo, Woods was sitting in at local clubs and discovering records by boogie-woogie pioneers Meade Lux Lewis, Albert Ammons, and Pete Johnson. Woods came to San Francisco in 1970, and for the next five years performed as Mitch Woods and His Red Hot Mama (with singer Gracie Glassman). One night Oakland guitarist Hi Tide Harris heard Woods opening for Charlie Musselwhite and was reminded of the sound and theatrics of early R&B pioneer Louis Jordan. Indeed, Jordan has always been a primary influence on Woods. “I actually did see Louie Jordan in Oakland. He was the bridge between swing and rock and roll. He would do a five or six piece band, get a lot of power out of that.”


That kind of power was to become rallying cry for Mitch’s next project, Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88s, which started in 1980 and quickly rose to the top of the Northern California club circuit. Their first album, Steady Date (Blind Pig Records) got hot reviews in 1984 and led to appearances at two San Francisco Blues Festivals, openings for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Blasters, The Neville Brothers, and James Brown. By 1987, Woods was doing a six-country Europe tour highlighted by a rousing performance at the Belgium Rhythm and Blues Festival.


In 1988, the 88s released Mr. Boogie’s Back In Town (Blind Pig Records) and music pundits started to acknowledge Woods’ place in the ranks of American music: “Woods lays down an authentic 50s-vintage rock piano groove, comparable in power and rhythmic nuance to classic recordings by the young Jerry Lee Lewis,” said Keyboard Magazine.


Jump For Joy, Mitch’s fifth release for Blind Pig Records continues Woods’ spin down the boogie road. He had always followed the boogie greats like Louie Jordan and Louie Prima, but Jump For Joy keyed off a new influence. “I started to listen to Cab Calloway, and this new one has lots of Cab influence; six horns, eleven-piece band with doubled horn lines. He (Calloway) had a great entertainment style, very similar to Louie Jordan’s, and that’s what we’ve gone for here,” he says. Woods says Jump For Joy will unite all factions in the dress-up-and-boogie scene. “Aside from the blues audience, we’ve been developing the whole swing crowd, so this will appeal to the swing dancers as well as the blues lovers.” On Jump For Joy, Mitch Woods has gone the limit, writing sassy boogie tunes and crafting smooth arrangements that evoke the heyday of the dancehall Forties.


On his CD/DVD project, Big Easy Boogie, Mitch brings together the inner circle of Rock’n’ Roll royalty. Featuring some of New Orleans’ legends including original members of the Fats Domino band, Herb Hardesty and the Blue Monday Horns, and Jimmy Moliere on guitar, the sound is true to the roots New Orleans R&B. It is vintage rock’n’roll and boogie inspired by New Orleans piano greats Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, and Little Richard, performed in Mitch’s joyous entertaining style that makes you feel like you are not only in the audience but on stage with him having a ball! Whether it is a pounding piano pumper, a Mardi Gras mambo, or a moody late night blues with cascading piano and sultry sax, Mitch Woods’ Big Easy Boogie will delight all lovers of New Orleans music.


"Mitch Woods’ Big Easy Boogie is a loving tribute to the vintage New Orleans sounds of Fats Domino, Little Richard and Professor Longhair” —Philadelphia Inquirer


In 2007 Mitch was nominated for Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year Award at the Blues Awards in Memphis. Presented by the Blues Foundation this is one of the highest achievements a blues musician can earn. Mitch continues to tour worldwide with both his Rocket 88’s and Big Easy Boogie. He has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious music festivals and venues, including Jazz A Vienne – France, Umbria Jazz Festival-Italy, San Javier International Jazz Festival – Spain, International Boogie Woogie Festival – Lugano, Switzerland, Lionel Hampton Jazz Club at Le Meridien – Paris, Edmonton Blues Festival – Canada, The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise -2000-2012 , Taiwan Blues Bash – Taiwan, Copenhagen Jazz Festival-Denmark, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and many, many more.


In 2010 Mitch released Gumbo Blues, his tribute to the legendary New Orleans blues shouter Smiley Lewis. Once again he assembled his all-star New Orleans musicians, including members of Dr. John, Fats Domino, Alan Toussaint, and Jon Cleary’s bands. Leading to appearances at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and many others worldwide as well as another Blues Award nomination and critical acclaim. If NOLA isn’t part of your start-up DNA, that can be fixed with a healthy dose of Mitch Woods’ Gumbo Blues. After a listen, you’ll feel as if you’ve visited the Crescent City of the 1950s. https://mitchwoods.com/

Venue Information:
2708 J Street
Sacramento, CA, 95816