Los Angeles, 2008
Known by some as the "Boss of the Boogie", pianoman/vocalist ROB RIO plays the boogie-woogie and jump blues of the 40's and 50's with a virtuosity and elan that has excited audiences around the world for more than 20 years. RIO has appeared with many of the original blues greats, such as Muddy Waters, Willy Dixon, Charles Brown, Joe Cocker, Paul Butterfield and many more, and has recorded with Mick Jagger, Canned Heat, Billy Boy Arnold, William Clarke, Coco Montoya, Finas Tasby, Walter Trout, Phillip Walker, Jody Williams and others, and continues to do session work.
Born and raised in the Bronx, N.Y., RIO now resides in Los Angeles and currently performs at festivals, events and clubs at home and on the road and has been a favorite attraction throughout the Southland for the last 20 years, either as a solo performer or with his 5-piece band, THE REVOLVERS. He has starred solo for many years at the Arches Piano Stage of the Cincinnati Blues Festival , the premier showcase of boogie-woogie & blues pianists in the U.S. In 2005 RIO toured France and Germany to perform solo and with the top European practitioners of this uniquely American art form. He reprised his role as Jerry Lee Lewis in the 50's revue at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. He joined boogie-woogie greats Bob Seeley and Carl "Sonny" Leyland at the Ojai Blues Fest for a re-enactment of the boogie-woogie dream trio of Ammons. Johnson and Lewis . He brought his band to the Big Bear Lake Classic Jazz Festival for the 6th year for solo and band performances.
He returned to Europe in October to tour Germany w/ the great boogie-meister Axel Zwingenberger. In 2006 Rio headlined the 7th Austrian Blues Masters Festival in Liebnitz, Austria. He recorded on former John Lee Hooker & John Mayall guitarist Walter Trout's great new CD, "Full Circle." In July he released the new live DVD Boogie @ Big Bear. RIO starred once again at the Cincinnati Blues Festival's famous Arches Piano Stage which featured Muddy Water's pianist Pinetop Perkins and jazz great Ray Bryant. In November he appeared once again w/ Axel Zwingenberger in Barcelona, Spain. In December, RIO recorded on Phillip Walker's latest release, "Going Back Home" on Delta Groove Records, released 2/07. Also in 2007, RIO headlined at the Feinkost Royal in Weldon, Austria, and he recorded with Jody Williams, Johnny Dyer and a host of other top blues artists for the Mannish Boys "Big Plans" release and also with former John Mayall and John Lee Hooker guitarist Walter Trout for his "Full Circle" CD. Thus far in 2008, Rio has headlined the International Boogie Woogie Festival in Amsterdam, Holland. He also returns to star at the Arches Piano Stage of the Cincinnati Blues Festival with a host of other boogie woogie greats. He'll be at the San Clemente Classic Jazz Fest and comes back to Ventura as part of the "Concerts Under The Stars" series.
RIO and lists several commercial credits along with 12 CDs and DVDs under his own name. His latest CD, "Thank You, Joe Turner!" (Boss,2008) features 10 songs in tribute to the great Big Joe Turner, including such classics as SHAKE RATTLE & ROLL, CHERRY RED, FLIP FLOP & FLY, and CORRINA CORRINA. It's a swinging testament to this great artist and the roots of rock and roll. FAT GIRL BOOGIE, from his CD "Bankin' on the Boogie" (Boss,1992) was picked up for "19 Super Blues" (Sony,1993), a compilation CD featuring Buddy Guy and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and also for "Boogie Beat Vol. 2" (Ripete 2236, 1996). He recorded the title cut of his "Fine Young Girl" (Boss,1994) with Billy Boy Arnold for Billy’s Alligator Records release in 1994. "Swingtrain" (Boss,1997) features 14 cuts, including 8 originals and 4 hot boogie-woogies. "Boogie Woogie Valentine" (Boss,1999) features ROB RIO & THE REVOLVERS. 15 cuts, 55:17 total time, featuring 7 originals along with standards such as KANSAS CITY, SEA CRUISE and JAMBALAYA. Lot’s of swing and boogie-woogie here! "Rob Rio-LIVE!" (Boss,2001) is a live solo concert on DVD. Video and audio, piano and vocals only. 13 cuts, 56 minutes of pure piano! . The growth and maturity of Rio's playing and singing are evident throughout the 19 cuts on Back to L.A. (Boss,2003). The burning piano and humorous lyrics that are his trademark can be heard throughout the 8 originals here, including MY SWEET IVORY and FIRE IT UP!
Also included are classics like Nat King Cole's GEE BABY, AIN'T I GOOD TO YOU and Pete Johnson & Joe Turner's ROLL 'EM PETE. Rio's latest CD, Boogie Woogie GOLD, (Boss,2005) is a compilation of 16 boogie-woogie piano instrumental nuggets culled from nearly 20 years of his recordings. Rio displays the prodigious chops that have earned him the title "Boss of the Boogie." Several boogie-woogie classics are covered, such as Albert Ammons BOOGIE-WOOGIE STOMP and CUTTIN' THE BOOGIE , Pete Johnson's DIVE BOMBER, KAYCEE BOOGIE and SWANEE BOOGIE and Meade Lux Lewis's HONKY TONK TRAIN. Also included are several Rio originals that shine and various interpretations of such masters as Jimmy Yancy, Cow Cow Davenport and Otis Spann, and a sparkling version of Erskine Hawkins'AFTER HOURS. Boogie @ Big Bear, (Boss,2006) is the latest live DVD from Rio. A nice 3-camera shoot recorded under the lights on the revolving stage at the Performing Arts Center in Big Bear Lake, CA provides 14 cuts and 54 minutes of highly entertaining wild boogie woogie!
"The best boogie- woogie player I've heard in a long time. He's really got it! "
"I think Rob Rio plays as good as the very best pianist in the boogie music. He certainly has my approval."
"...a flamboyant pianist, dynamic performer, charismatic entertainer..."
Greg Druest - KCBS FM
"...a boogie-woogie virtuoso..."
"Whether performing solo or with his smokin' band, Rob Rio's show is always a crowd pleaser."
Michael Kaufer - Foundation for American Roots Music