Arizona blues musician-booster receives deserved recognition
By Patricia Myers
Bob Corritore is super-big in blues news, and it’s well-deserved recognition…
First, the harmonica player, record producer and owner of the Rhythm Room in Phoenix, was the cover-story feature of Blues Blast Magazine’s May 28 issue. In the article, he states, “As soon as I heard Muddy (Waters) — which was many years before I ever saw him, I must have been 12 or 13 – at that point, I knew it was music that I loved. It was rock-n-roll in its purest form and that was everything that I wanted musically. From that moment forward, my life was moving in that direction. Of course, I was raised in a family that made sure I was college-educated and told me I should have a career in business, but at a point, it became very apparent to me that I had no choice but to have a life in music. I have been able to incorporate business and music together, but there’s no way I could live without the music. It’s the main thrust of what I do. I would feel very unfulfilled and incomplete if I did not have music in my life.”
Second, a Blues America podcast featured Corritore on May 23, as part of a new interview series hosted by Drew Verbis. The first podcast featured Jerry Lawson and his latest release, Just a Mortal Man on Red Beet Records. On June 6, it will feature Dave Riley. More information is at www.bluesamerica.com.
Third, the Henry Gray/Bob Corritore Sessions will be released June 16 on the Delta Groove label. The collection of 14 songs recorded between 1996 and 2015 represents a cross-section of highlights from the collaborations between legendary piano master Gray, 90, and harmonica ace Corritore during a 19-year period. The CD features blues musicians including Robert Lockwood Jr., John Brim, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger, Dave Riley, Bob Margolin, Kid Ramos, Big Jon Atkinson, Bob Stroger, Doug James, Chris James, Patrick Rynn and more. Info at BobCorritore.com
Fourth, Corritore’s Southwest Musical Arts Foundation was created to expand musical awareness through live performance, recordings and education. It primarily focuses on artful, non-mainstream genres including blues, jazz, gospel, zydeco, rockabilly, folk, surf, singer/songwriter and roots. Among the many recordings on the label were the a cappella album by the Reed Family (“Blood Harmony,” 2005, produced with Clarke Rigsby and Francine Reed); a collection of vintage Phoenix R&B, blues and gospel; and a collection of rare 1970s Chicago recordings focusing on the work of the late bluesman Chico Chism. The foundation also is involved in blues education. More info at swmaf.org.