(LOS ANGELES)—Robert Auerbach, Founder and CEO of HighJohn Records, LLC, has announced that Floyd Dixon, the celebrated pianist credited with pioneering the West coast jump blues genre, will record a live CD/DVD June 1 & 2 at Bob Corritore’s Rhythm Room in Phoenix. Floyd has invited fellow blues piano icons, Pinetop Perkins and Henry Gray to join him for the festivities. Auerbach will serve as Executive Producer and has tapped Kid Ramos, the Southern California based guitarist who burst on the national scene with the Fabulous Thunderbirds and who has gone on to critical and popular acclaim as a band leader and soloist, to be musical director and lead a production team that will include veteran producers Corritore and Clarke Rigsby.
Floyd Dixon, whose HighJohn debut, Fine! Fine! Thing! is currently in regular rotation on dozens of major blues radio programs both in the U.S. and abroad, first came to prominence in the 1950s with a string of hit records that included “Hey Bartender”, “Call Operator 210” and “Telephone Blues”. He won a prestigious W.C. Handy Award in 1997 for Comeback Album of the Year and his newest project has earned him the cover of Living Blues and Southland Blues magazines.
Though Floyd downplays his role in helping a young Ray Charles move towards an earthy, gospel/R&B sound, he continues to be hailed as an important figure in the history of American blues and the influence he’s had on the genre, as well as the many artists with whom he’s shared the stage, is undeniable.
Floyd is delighted that fellow blues legends, Pinetop Perkins and Henry Gray have decided to join him for this “once-in-a-lifetime” piano summit. Each has enjoyed renewed respect and a heightened national presence after long and remarkable careers of their own. Pinetop Perkins, the venerable Mississippi born elder statesman of the trio, is perhaps best known for the dozen years he spent in Muddy Waters’ band after he replaced Otis Spann in 1969. Similarly, Henry Gray, who hails from Louisiana, punctuated his own successful career with a decade plus stint in Howlin Wolf’s band.Kid Ramos is a fixture of the Southern California blues scene. He spent seven years in The James Harman Band before coming to the attention of Kim Wilson, which in turn led to his joining the T-Birds. The group’s 1995 album, Roll Of The Dice, is still regarded as one of its finest records. Bob Corritore, owner of the Rhythm Room, has hosted his own radio show, Those Lowdown Blues, on radio station KJZZ since 1984 and is also a respected blues musician and Grammy nominated producer. Rigsby, of Tempest Recording, has worked with Paul McCartney, Bo Diddley, The T-Birds, Billy Boy Arnold and Jimmy Smith among many others.
Joining Floyd, Pinetop and Henry on stage, in addition to Kid Ramos, will be bassist Larry Taylor (Canned Heat, John Mayall, Tom Waits, T-Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner), drummer Richard Innes (Lightning Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, Rod Piazza, T-Birds), tenor saxophonist Steve Marsh (Lyle Lovett, Kid Ramos Band, Brian Setzer Orchestra), baritone saxman Troy Jennings (Candye Kane, Kid Ramos) and trumpet legend and longtime Floyd Dixon accompanist, Joe Banks.
The June 1 and 2 musical evenings will be staged in classic revue style with Kid Ramos opening each show with two songs, followed by HighJohn recording artist, Johnny Tucker performing three selections. Then the piano summit will take place with Gray and Perkins performing individual sets before Floyd takes the stage to close the show including the early hits and songs from Fine! Fine! Thing! John Gibson of Wavebase will film the proceedings for HighJohn Records, LLC. He’s collaborated with Rigsby on several projects including a high end double super audio CD mastered in surround sound for jazz group, The Bob Ravenscroft Trio.