Blues Boot Camp with Greg Sherrod

Blues Boot Camp with Greg Sherrod

Greg Sherrod is a master of Old School Blues,Rock & Roll and R&B. The Blues Boot Camp is geared toward players who want to learn the subtleties and nuances of of the Blues and R&B. Come sign up and sit in with the band. Music starts at 8 p.m.

The Cobalt Rhythm Kings

The Cobalt Rhythm Kings -- 20th Anniversary

The Cobalt Rhythm Kings were born 20 years ago -- right here at Cafe Nine -- when the original four members were thrown together on the Cafe Nine stage as part of the old Cafe Nine Blues Jam on a cold December's night in 1996. Through a whirlwind of changes in the band, the blues scene, the music industry and the world around them, they have remained one of Connecticut's leading blues bands.
Fronted for the past 17-plus years by native Chicagoans Wendell Jones on bass guitar and vocals and Mark Zaretsky -- the only remaining original member -- on harmonica and vocals, The Kings have been an enduring presence on the New Haven scene. They opened for the late Etta James and Son Seals on the New Haven Green, played for thousands of people high atop the Temple Street Garage before the city imploded the New Haven Coliseum, supported the late Johnny Winter, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Roomful of Blues, NRBQ and the B. Willie Smith Band, among others, and have performed in generations of bars and clubs, both past and present.
Not a lot of bands have that kind of staying power. So it's time to celebrate!
For The Cobalt Rhythm Kings' anniversary bash -- which also will be the Cafe Nine Christmas Party -- we're going to start at 4 in the afternoon as part of the Cafe Nine/Cygnus Radio Sunday Buzz series, then take it all the way through the evening with a resurrected All-Star Cafe Nine Blues Jam-to-end-all-blues-jams!
Come early because we'll start off with a set by the current Cobalt crew -- Zaretsky, Jones (also of the INITY reggae band), 15-year member Greg Benn (also of the Kathy Thompson Band) on guitar and five-year upstart Tom Smith (also of The Bandidos, The Hickups, Bronson Rock and Happy Ending, among other bands) on drums. Then we'll see a reunion set by the original band -- Zaretsky, George Lesiw on guitar and vocals, Steve Klunk on bass and vocals and George Mastrogiannis on drums. Then you can expect to see a sampling of the 20 or so people who have rotated through the band over the past two decades (the lion's share of which have been drummers.)
Among The Cobalt Rhythm Kings' former and occasional members who have been invited to join us are guitarist Rocky Lawrence, vocalists extraordinaire Arlee Leonard and Greg Sherrod, horn players JD Herzog and Patrick Casey, aka "The Hellbound Horns," our favorite sub bassists Tim Barry and Andy Karlok and drummers Gil Hawkins Jr., Tony Lupia, Tom Nagy, Luke Rodney, John Rispoli and Vic Chiappetta.
It's going to be a party not to be missed as we move from the choreographed stuff to a full-steam, no-holds-barred jam! Come celebrate with us!
Need to know more?
The Cobalt Rhythm Kings are steeped in the jazzy jump blues of Louis Jordan, Big Joe Turner, Wynonie Harris and the Liggins brothers; the cool, raging West Coast blues of William Clark, Rod Piazza and James Harman, and the hard-edged Chicago blues of Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Junior Wells and Freddie King, to name a few.
Formed in 1996 – with two Chicago natives on vocals -- The Kings have played everywhere from New York's premier blues club, Chicago B.L.U.E.S., to the New Haven Jazz Festival to Black-Eyed Sally's in Hartford. The band debuted on the national stage on Oct. 8, 2005 at the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas.
Other stops have included many of Connecticut's top clubs and festivals and appearances with or opening for Phil Guy, former Muddy Waters Band members Pinetop Perkins, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Bob Margolin and Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Roomful of Blues, Tommy Castro, Debbie Davies, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Mark Naftalin of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Dave Specter, Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, John Hammond Jr. and Ron Levy & His Wild Kingdom.
The Cobalt Rhythm Kings' CD, "HOT . . . Like Red Pepper," contains nine songs -- four originals -- that range from uptempo, danceable jump blues to gritty, grinding Chicago blues and the flat-out boogie of "King of the Boogie," an original tune in memory of the late John Lee Hooker. The CD also includes three other original songs: "Tougher Than That," a tribute to the American spirit written in the wake of Sept. 11, the bouncing, Chicago-style "Cross- Eyeded Mama" and the steamy, atmospheric "Louisiana Bayou."
In addition to the band's originals, the Cobalts are committed to resurrecting some of the great blues and swing numbers of the past and making sure that the people who brought them to the world get proper credit -- while at the same time doing them fresh rather than treating them as relics. Never heard of Buddy Johnson's "A Pretty Girl, a Cadillac and Some Money," Rudy Greene's "Juicy Fruit" or Albina Jones' "What's the Matter With You?" Get ready to boogie!
The current Cobalt lineup includes Chicago-born singer and harmonica player Mark Zaretsky, Chicago native and longtime New Havener Wendell Jones on bass and vocals, Tom Smith of Cheshire, Conn. laying down the beat and Greg Benn of West Haven, Conn. by way of Guilford, Conn. striking the groove on guitar.

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