Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88's are the torch bearers of a
great American musical heritage. Taking their inspiration from the great jump
n' boogie outfits and swingin' little big bands of the 40's, they breathe fresh
life into the music that gave birth to rock n' roll. Mitch takes his cue from
his jumpin', n' jivin', shoutin' n' honkin', pumpin' n' poundin' predecessors,
Louis Jordan, Cab Calloway, Joe and Jimmie Liggins, Louis Prima, just to name
a few. Mitch's pile drivin' piano licks and energetic stage persona combine
with the Rocket 88's swingin' horns, thumpin' bass, rockin' guitar, and jungle
drums to send a crowd into dancing delight. They are one of the first bands
on the West Coast to reach back to an earlier time in American music using humor,
style, musicianship, and showmanship to forge their own swinging brand of music,
which they coined rock-a-boogie. Mitch & the 88's have distilled the essence
of jump, swing , boogie woogie, made it their own, and deliver it to the present.
Mitch Woods was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He moved to the San
Francisco Bay Area in 1971and began performing as Mitch Woods & His Red
Hot Mama, featuring his boogie woogie piano and the sultry voice of the Red
Hot Mama (Susan Savoy) on tunes by Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, and Fats Waller.
The band broke up as Mitch moved to Hawaii to embark on a solo career in the
late 70's. He returned in 1981 to form the first incarnation of the Rocket 88's
with former members of the David Bromberg Band.
Mitch and the 88's recorded their first of five albums for
the Blind Pig label entitled "Steady Date" in 1984. Hailed by Billboard
as "a Whitman sampler of American jump, bump, and boogie" it features
Lance Dickerson on drums (of Commander Cody fame).
- Their second release, "Mr. Boogie's Back In Town"
(1988), features Danny Caron on guitar who has since gone on to become blues
legend Charles Brown's musical director.
- Mitch's third release, "Solid Gold Cadillac" (1991),
features a stellar lineup of special guests, including Charlie Musselwhite,
The Roomful of Blues Horns, and Ronnie Earl. The Washington Post goes on to
say about this swingin’ album: "Woods is a rising figure in the boogie-woogie
and jump blues revival".
- On their fourth release, "Shakin the Shack" (1993),
Woods and the 88's combine the elements of jump / swing with New Orleans inspiration
on 11 original tunes of which Relix Magazine says: "If Shakin' The Shack
doesn't get your toes tapping, shoulders swaying, fingers snapping and hips
gyrating, it's time for resuscitation!"
- "Jump For Joy", Mitch's fifth release on Blind
Pig Records, the San Francisco bluesman, long known for his showmanship and
flair onstage, has finally realized a long-running dream; to get back to the
jump blues sound of the great big-band Forties. There's a lot to be excited
about on Jump For Joy, Woods says. " This is really my full-on jump blues
album. We did it with a big band, it's all original tunes written as they were
back in the Forties." This jumpin' and swingin' album will appeal to blues
lovers and rock and rollers as well as dance fans.
- Mitch's solo project, "Keeper Of The Flame" (1996),
on Viceroy / Lightyear distributed worldwide through WEA is Mitch's tribute
to the blues masters that inspired his career. On it he plays and sings duets
with John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Johnnie Johnson (Chuck Berry), Earl King,
and Lee Allen (Fats Domino). Hooker enjoyed these sessions so much that he asked
Woods to join him in his own recording "Boom Boom" (Pointblank / Charisma).
Mitch Woods And His Rocket 88's have built a large national and international
following as they perform at clubs and festivals and events worldwide.
EASY BOOGIE (CD / DVD set)
Pianist / vocalist Mitch Woods brings together an unsung inner circle of Rock'n'Roll
royalty, the original members of the Fats Domino band. This band features the
architects of American music, the veritable founding fathers of Rock'n'Roll
who laid the musical bedrock at J&M Studios in New orleans in the early
50s that launched so many stars. Earl Palmer has been the drummer of choice
for all the Rock'n'Roll immortals from Fats Domino and Little Richard to Sam
Cooke and Ray Charles, Richie Valens and Eddie Cochran to the Everly Brothers.
Herb Hardesty played sax with Fats Domino from the very beginning and still
plays with him today. Woods reunited these legendary players along with others
who still play in the Fats Domino band and composed a batch of original tunes
modeled after the original Fats Domino material. Legendary producer, Dave Bartholomew
(who co-wrote many of Fats' hits) came in on the project to help produce. Along
with a live performance in New Orleans featuring these legendary players, the
DVD includes rare interviews and a never before seen look at how the music was
created in the studio. It is also the story of a younger musician and his initiation
into the inner circle of the creators of the uniquely American music we call
Rock'n'Roll. This double package includes a complete Big Easy Boogie CD featuring
12 original songs penned by Mitch Woods featuring special guests Maria Muldaur,
John Mooney, and Charmaine Neville.The result is a rollickin' gumbo of New Orleans
rhythm & blues that is true to the roots of the Mississippi mud from which
Mitsh Woods Discography:
Big Easy Boogie
Mr. Boogie's Back In Town
Solid Gold Cadillac
Shakin' The Shack
Keeper Of The Flame
Jump For Joy
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