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 35 years. RIO was inducted into the Boogie Woogie Hall Of Fame in 2008. He has appeared with many of the original blues greats, such as Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, James Cotton, Charles Brown, Joe Cocker, Paul Butterfield and many more, and has recorded with Mick Jagger, Canned Heat, Billy Boy Arnold, William Clarke, Coco Montoya, Finis Tasby, Walter Trout, Mud Morganfield, Phillip Walker and Jody Williams among others. Over the years, Rio has also recorded 17 different projects under his own name including the latest from his alter ego, “Harry Tonic, Sr.” released April, 2014.
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 25 years, either as a solo performer or with his 5-piece band, The Revolvers. His main influences include Otis Spann, Memphis Slim, Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, Meade Lux Lewis, Jimmy Yancy, and Roosevelt Sykes. In 2014, Rio will continue to record and perform festivals and events nationally and internationally.
In 2011, Rio returned to Norway and Vienna, performed festivals throughout Canada and the U.S., released the compilation CD “Blues From The Vault,”and recorded with Walter Trout and The Mannish Boys for their respective 2012 CDs.
In 2010, Rio toured Norway for the first time and returned to the famed Arches Piano Stage of the Cincy Blues Fest, the premier showcase of boogie-woogie & blues pianists in the U.S. In 2009, Rio starred at several Southland festivals including the mother of all classic jazz fests, The Orange County Classic Jazz Festival and he headlined at the Brussels Piano Summit in Belgium. He recorded a cover of Otis Spann’s “Half Ain’t Never Been Told” w/ Bobby Jones singing for the Delta Groove label to be included on the Mannish Boys latest CD, slated for release in early 2010. And for Cristmas 2009, Rio released “Winter Boogieland,” a collection of his boogie interpretations of 10 Xmas favorites.
“Thank You, Joe Turner!” CD and in March headlined the International Boogie Woogie Festival in Amsterdam, Holland, appearing with the New Orleans great Henry Butler. In July, he also headlined at the 4th Polish Boogie Festival at Cztuchow, Poland. In August he also headlined at the Arches Piano Stage of the Cincy Blues Fest with a host of other boogie woogie greats, where he was inducted into the Boogie Woogie Hall Of Fame by the Cincy Blues Society. He starred at the San Clemente Classic Jazz Fest and rocked the full house in Ventura with The Revolvers as part of the “Concerts Under The Stars” series. In November he returned to Belgium and France for a tour with the Belgian great, Renaud Patigny.
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 CD, “Full Circle.” In July he released the live DVD Boogie @ Big Bear. RIO starred once again at the Cincy Blues Fest’s famous Arches Boogie Piano Stage which featured Muddy Waters’ 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 has recorded with Jody Williams, Johnny Dyer and other top blues artists for the Mannish Boys “Big Plans” CD, released 4/07.
RIO lists several commercial credits along with 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. 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.
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 Yancey, Cow Cow Davenport and Otis Spann, and a sparkling version of Erskine Hawkins’AFTER HOURS.
Boogie @ Big Bear, (Boss,2006) is a 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!