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March 18, 1983 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-18

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ART S

The Michigan Daily

Friday, March 18, 1983

Roomful Of Blues' fulfillingnes

By Leizer Goldsmith

R OOMFUL OF BLUES, a nine-piece
ensemble which specializes in an
uncompromising mix of swing, blues,
and R & B, turned in a stellar perfor-
mance at Rick's Wednesday night. The
Providence, Rhode Island-based group
carries a reputation as a great blues
band, and this was evidenced by the
number of local musicians and music
industry people (Mitch Ryder included)
who were present at the show. The band
did live up to its notices, and kept an
older-than-usual Rick's crowd dancing
and cheering through two full-length
sets.
Mr. B. started off the evening with a
short set of solo R & B piano work. B.
wears his New Orleans influence as
openly as Roomful does, so he was an
appropriate choice to open the show,
particularly considering the relatively
low volume at which his set was am-
plified (In comparison, Roomful was
perhaps a bit loud). The crowd, which
was good-sized though not mammoth,
chattered through Mr.B.'s set, but gave
him a warm ovation at its concIsion.
After a break, Roomful took the stage
and was hailed as "The Hottest Rock
And Roll Band In The World." Perhaps
this introduction was a misnomer, but
nobody seemed to mind when the band

blasted into two steady rocking opening
numbers, the second of which was
"Reelin' And Rockin'," the B side of the
group's new, independently-produced
single.
Roomful continued through fourteen
more numbers, which included an
eclectic mix of grinding, Chicago-style
blues, New Orleans R & B, and jazz of
both the Louis Jordan and swing per-
suasions. By the time they wound up the
first set with a rockin' Memphis tune
which sounded more like stax than
Swing, the crowd was not only oohing
and aahing at recently unretired trom-
bonist Porky Cohen's solos, but dancing
up a storm as well..
The second set was slightly shorter,
and it reflected the band's rocking
nature even more than the first. Its
second tune was "Don't Leave Me," the
A side of the new single's, and the song
on which Greg Piccolo, whose voice
resembles Blasters' lead singer Lee
Alvin, really established himself as a
better vocalist than his recordings in-
dicate. The horn players were featured
on some exquisite solos, and the rhythm
section really got going, with Ronnie
Earl providing chunky guitar fills and
Preston Hubbard rocking his white
stand up bass side to side.
Amidst all of this fine musicianship,
perhaps the evening's highlight was a

string of New Orleans R & B
which were performed near the
the set. These included Art N
"Zing Zing" and the classic"
You Knockin," a song which 1
emptied the section of the bar v
was seated. When the band finiE
second set, they returned for
three song encore.
But it was that flurry of high
R & B which may be the shape o
to come as Roomful will soon b
off the road for some ex
reorganization. Preston Hubba]
that the band intends to cha
name to something which will s
bit more modern, and will bej
sing even more rocking materi
band will be issuing an albur
legendary singer Big Joe
("Shake, Rattle And Roll"), b
continue to search for a majo
deal.
The success of groups like the
Cats has shown that big buc
available for bands that
traditional American music, pr
they have the right productic
promotion. But on Wednesday
nobody was worrying too much
Grammy Nominations or recor
tracts. The music was ho
everybody had fun.

LYMAN
Page 7 WOODARD
s ORGANIZATION
B tunes
end of
'eville's
I Hear
iterally
where I
shed its
a fine
energy
f things
e going
tended
rd says
nge its
sound a
rehear-
al. The
m with
Turner
ut will SATURDAY, MARCH 19
label 4.00 General Admission
Stray
ks are
play
rovided "
on and Jazz""" THE
night, UNIERsITY
h about
rd con-
A and C
wjzz
Soundxtage
Sonstg For more information call 763-1107 0
c. ylt.1 _ _. LL'J

Roomful of Blues
... rocks Rick's

B. S. 0.: Not perfect, but

.

Read and Use
Michigan Daily Classifieds

By George Shepherd
T HERE WERE ROUGH edges in
the Boston Symphony's Wednesday
-concert. Yet the orchestra played for
conductor Seiji Ozawa with a spirited
zest that rendered the imperfections
trivial. Though perhaps not the world's
-most precise orchestra, the BSO may
be the most exciting.
Beethoven's treacherously exposed
writing in his First Symphony demands
,transparent control from the
riusicians. In the deceptively tricky
opening sections, the woodwinds were
out of tune while the violins did not
always play perfectly together. The or-
, chestra's sound was. often top heavy
/With the high brass and violins
,dominating. All together, the sound was
not as lush as one would expect from
the group.
The Dresden State orchestra, here
recently, played Beethoven with
greater technical perfection. However,
the Boston performance was more
satisfying. Ozawa's approach was clear
and consistent and exposed the work's
intricate structure. And the perfor-
mance had the passion that the Dresden
ensemble lacked. The Boston strings
attacked their parts with a gutsiness
usually reserved for more romantic
music. The second movement
ijggested a stately aristocratic dance
hich, with a joyful surge from the first
olins, seemed at any moment ready to
eak into a lusty peasant stomp.
Often the piece seemed to be a con-
erto featuring the first violins. And the
ction ripped through the difficulties
ith flair. Most fun was the final
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movement, in which the violins began
with a coy scale pattern, which led the
audience to expect something other
than the romping dance which followed.
This was fresh and happy Beethoven,
revealing Ludwig's great musical wit.
Still better, however, was Strayin-
sky's complete ballet score from The
Firebird. The works of Stravinsky are
an Ozawa specialty, and this perfor-
mance provided a showcase for him
and the orchestra. From the sinister
low chords of the Enchanted Garden
to the, jubilant Animation of the
Petrified Warriors, here was the
shimmering, seamless sound for which
the BSO is famous. The piece has all
sorts of effect: contrabassoons, off-
stage trumpets, and a tuba with a huge,
missile-shaped mute. Everything was
right on the button. The brass was edgy
and spine-tingling; the woodwinds were
precise and expressive; and the strings
soared with just the correct amount of
romantic glissandi. The ending, one of
the most vibrant in music, was grand.
The orchestra deserved its standing
ovation.
It was interesting to hear the
movements which come between the
sections of the Firebird Suite, the ver-
sion of .the work usually heard. Yet one
longed to hear this stunning music with
dancers and, thus, to experience the
work's full impact.
Ozawa, technically, is one of the
world's best conductors. Precise and
controlled, his simple, clear gestures
transmit ideas with the skill of a master
mime. He moves as little as necessary,
his hands leading always with entirely
independant expression. With bouncy

energy, Ozawa invites the orchestra to
play rather than clubbing it into sub-
mission. And one senses that the or-
chestra, thereby given more respon-
sibility, plays with greater initiative
and verve.
One would hope that in the future the
major orchestras will employ more
women and minorities. Fewer than one
fifth of the Boston Orchestra's mem-
bers were women. American or-
chestras are, however, doing better in
this respect than European orchestras.
The Dresden Orchestra, for example,
was disorienting in how, save for three
female faces, it looked like a club for
grey-haired men.
As encores, the orchestra played two
selections from the Faust Symphony of
Berlioz. The Dance of the Sylphs
revealed the orchestra's delicate
touch; the R okaczY Marchg agair set
off the sonic fireworks.

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