The blues is a special genre of music. Often when people hear blues for the first time, it stays with them and becomes a part of their life forever.
For more than 25 years, blues lovers in Phoenix have flocked to The Rhythm Room, an intimate music venue located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd. in Midtown Phoenix. The Rhythm Room is owned by Bob Corritore, musician and host of “Those Low Down Blues,” which airs on Sunday nights on KJZZ 91.5 FM.
Corritore relocated to Phoenix from Chicago in 1981 and over the next ten years played at what was then known as The Purple Turtle, and ultimately became The Rhythm Room. “I played blues at this location and I got a call from the owner asking me if I had interest in purchasing the property,” said Corritore. ” The club opened in 1991 and it has been going strong ever since.
In that time, countless local and national artists in a variety of genres, from blues to jazz to roots and more, have played The Rhythm Room stage. The venue has hosted some of the world’s best blues musicians including Jimmie Vaughan, John Primer, Kim Wilson and Mud Morganfield, the eldest son of blues legend Muddy Waters, just to name a few.
Another notable aspect of the Rhythm Room is its connection to fans. According to Corritore, “The Rhythm Room has a special set of fans and it has developed a community of blues fans in the last 25 years.” The relationships between its patrons and musicians has led to several artists returning on a regular basis, including piano legend Henry Gray, who has been a regular performer at The Rhythm Room for the last 23 years.
Whether you’re already a blues fan or just discovering the genre, you can experience Phoenix’s blues scene this month at some unique Rhythm Room shows. On Saturday, May 27, they will host a birthday remembrance celebration for blues drummer Chico Chism. The Arizona-based (yet nationally known) band Bill Tarsha and the Rocket 88s will pay tribute to Chism, along with other special guests to be announced. On May 28, the Rhythm Room will host the Phoenix Blues Society Fundraiser featuring Corritore and other local blues talent.
The Rhythm Room has long offered a consistent lineup of great musicians and created many memorable experiences for fans over the years. If you are looking to see and meet some of the world’s best musicians (blues or otherwise) and maybe even make new friends, the Rhythm Room is a place you will sincerely enjoy.
Images by Downtown Phoenix Journal.