"The Blue Rhythm Boys were an absolute joy to have in concert. They transported our concert hall into a Southern low-down "Jook" joint. Their easy-going nature quickly won over the audience (and myself) with humor appropriate to the vintage material. Comparisons? Imagine a session with Mississippi John Hurt, jamming with Django with Louis Armstrong, and the Kansas City Five as the backline!"
David Eisner, President
The Institute of Musical Tradition,
Takoma Park, MD
THE BLUE RHYTHM BOYS
The Blue Rhythm Boys bring authenticity, originality and joy to their own swinging mix of hot jazz, country blues and hokum. Their love of the great, acoustic string bands of the last century shines clear and strong. You'll hear music from the 1920's & 30's; a raucous repertoire featuring songs from Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Blake, Washington Phillips and Pink Anderson as well as the "hot club" swing of Django Reinhardt, the western swing of Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys, and the thrilling music of Slim & Slam, Hank Penny and the great Fats Waller. The Blue Rhythm Boys have played this music their entire lives, and their great delight and considerable chops will be evident pretty quick into their first set.
Jim Stephanson & Tom Mitchell formed the Blue Rhythm Boys in 1997 as a duo, but whenever possible, the band grows to include John Previti (upright bass) and Vince McCool (trumpet). They have been joined on stage and record by some great players including Ralph Gordon (upright bass), Mark Schatz (upright bass), Kevin Wimmer (violin), Brooks Tegler (drums), Phil Wiggins (harmonica) and the late, great Dave Giegerich (dobro).
In their musical lives, these guys have played in just about every state in the union and many countries around the world, but they have all claimed that their favorite gigs are when they can play together.
Tom Mitchell is a guitar player and singer rooted in the styles of the 1920’s and 30’s jazz, western swing, country blues and old-time music. He has happily been both sideman and leader for a great variety of musical endeavors. In addition to singing and playing guitar, he’s played mandolin, banjo, tenor guitar or tiple when the need arose.
Ten years of playing with legendary hipster Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks took him around the world and led to the recording of two acclaimed CD’s including“Beatin’ the Heat” which featured guest appearances by Bette Midler, Ricki Lee Jones, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, and Brian Setzer.
Working with Grammy nominated Ann Savoy led to several extended trips to Louisiana and resulted in a great love of the Cajun Prairie and the musicians that abound in that rich cultural stew. His collaboration with Ann Savoy and her Sleepless Knights brought two fine CD’s from Memphis International Records and a movie soundtrack spot including producer credits for the Sony picture “All the Kings Men”.
Tom makes his home in Baltimore where he loves playing with the Blue Rhythm Boys and the Redwine Jazz Trio. Tom's website
A guitarist of great renown and a singer of soulful bearing, Jim Stephanson is a treasure in the Washington DC roots music scene. Jim’s unique guitar style draws on the influences of Chet Atkins, Danny Gatton, Les Paul and Mississippi John Hurt. The Washington Post says: "Washington DC can lay claim to a heritage of great electric guitar players; Jim Stephanson is part of that great legacy.
In 2010 Jim released his first solo album of original roots rock music entitled "Say Go". NRBQ fans take note: Say Go was co-produced by Terry Adams, who also plays piano, clavinet and organ on the recording and Joey Spampinato (who also adds harmony vocals). The rhythm section on the entire disc is the incomparable team of Tom Ardolino and Joey Spampinato. Original NRBQ guitarist, the late Steve Ferguson, solos on “Make a Lot of Noise” in what turned out to be his last recording session.
You can catch Jim playing with Chick Hall Jr. in the Country Swing Quartet, Hillbilly Jazz. The dynamic twin guitar arrangements pay homage to guitar legends Hank Garland, Jimmy Bryant, Roy Lanham, George Barnes and Les Paul.
Jim’s reputation has landed him work supporting a variety of artists including Big Joe & the Dynaflows, Chris Gaffney, The J Street Jumpers (Uptown Rhythm Kings), The Brooks Tegler Big Band, Billy Hancock, Steve Wolf and SwingSpeak, Eric Brace and Last Train Home, Karl Straub, Dave Kitchen and many others. Jim's website.
Award-winning bassist John Previti grew up in the Southern Maryland-D.C. area immersed in the region’s bubbling cauldron of musical styles: swing, country, jazz, R&B, soul, and the roots of rockabilly. John is considered the guitarist’s bass player, and has performed with Charlie Byrd, Herb Ellis and Les Paul, and with the great trumpeter, Doc Cheatham. He has also recorded with Herb Ellis and Paul Simon. He fronts his own quartet and recorded a solo CD, Swingin Lullabyes for My Rosetta, which received rave reviews.
John began his professional career in 1976 with Danny Gatton and played with him over a span of 18 years. Since that time, he has been a free-lance musician, working with Charlie Byrd, Doc Cheatham, Paul Simon, Buddy Emmons, Les Paul, Arlen Roth, Barrett Deems, John Allred, Bill Allred, Ed Polcer, Rick Whitehead, Big Joe Maher, John Cocuzzi, Brooks Tegler, Billy Hancock, Delbert McClinton, Chick Hall, Jr. and Houston Person, among numerous others. John's website
Vince McCool was born and raised in the Washington D.C area and graduated from Catholic University with a degree in Music Education. He studied in New Orleans at Loyola University and played professionally there for a year. He is a co-founder and trumpet player with the J Street Jumpers which has performed many times at The Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Jazz Café, at The White House for The Clintons, the Govenor's Convention, and many other local and national venues. He has won a total of 14 Washington Music Association Awards (WAMMIE'S) with the J Street Jumpers (seven years straight as "Best Big Band, Best Swing Band, and Best Traditional Jazz Group"), The Uptown Rhythm Kings and the Blue Rhythm Boys.
Vince also plays with the Brooks Tegler Band, the Previty Monk/Mingus Band, the Wright Touch Big Band. He has also played with Jimmy Heath and Junior Mance, Charles Brown, the Grammy Awards Big Band, the Uptown Rhythm Kings, Jr. Cline and the Recliners.